WHAT WE DO
This is a law school-sponsored voluntary program. We help students find opportunities to give back to the community and share the legal skills they are developing. We encourage students to identify an ever expanding number of legal service opportunities or to use our list of pre-approved orginizations or volunteer in our many clinics. We support student organizations in focusing their service activities on law related projects, and we encourage students to work with private attorneys who are handling pro bono matters.

Once a student has contributed 50 service hours to this program, we celebrate that service in a variety of ways: notation on the individual student’s transcript, a certificate, and recognition at the annual student awards ceremony.

WHY WE SELECTED THIS PROGRAM
This co-curricular program encourages, supports, and celebrates the professional value of ensuring access to justice. It complements our academic externship program and our clinical programs, while also providing a vehicle for service to students who may not be able to dedicate an entire semester to a clinic.

WHO'S INVOLVED
Administrators

   
Catherine Burnett
Vice President, Associate Dean,
Director of Clinical Programs,
and Professor of Law
Gladys Radetti
Coordinator
 

ORGANIZATIONS / PARTNERS
Virtually all of the non-profit service agencies in our externship program also host student pro bono volunteers. The same is true for our clinical programs. However, students can go even further -- and often contribute their hours in partnership with a professor or legal employer involved in a pro bono case or project.

Faculty Project Leaders

 
Matthew Festa
Professor of Law
Liz Dennis
Assistant Dean,
Director of Academic Internships,
and Associate Professor of Law
Mark Steiner
Professor of Law
Bruce McGovern
Associate Dean and
Professor of Law
SIGNIFICANT ACHEIVEMENTS
  • VITA [Volunteer Income Tax Assistance] -- Year Two
    • Two training programs in January
    • Friday afternoon and evening services to the public in February, March and April up until tax day
    • Services: interview and consultation, preparation of return and e-filing
    • 15 students and one professor involved
    • More than 80 clients served
     
  • Veteran’s Program – Year Two
  • One doctrinal professors, one administrator and seven students
    • Outreach at Veteran’s Hospital

  • Tax Court Advice and Counsel Project
    • Conducted one morning each week during semester
    • Coach pro se litigants on property tax matters in the Harris County Tax Court

  • These litigants are facing property tax foreclosure suits, often as a result of inherited property with past due taxes or property subject to predatory lending practices. They find it difficult to communicate and deal with the parties of the lawsuit
    • STCL adjunct faculty, clinic fellows and students help these litigants navigate the laws and court system
    • Approximately 85 litigants assisted

  • More than 3,500 hours given back to the community in addition to hours contributed through work in direct representation clinics and public interest externships.