PLACEMENTS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


  1. Must I complete all fifty hours in the same semester?

    No. Your pro bono service may occur during any, or all, semesters following completion of your first year (thirty credit hours) of law school.<<Back to Top

  2. What are the minimum and maximum hours of service required for a certificate?

    There is no upper limit on hours of pro bono service under the Honors Program. The minimum requirement for certification is fifty hours of service.<<Back to Top

  3. Are there opportunities for part-time students?

    Absolutely. Frequently bar associations and community service organizations sponsor one or two-day events designed to provide outreach or direct representation to targeted areas of the community that have been historically under served by the legal profession. Examples include projects such as the Will-A-Thon or Ask a Lawyer programs.<<Back to Top

  4. Do all my hours of service have to be at the same program or with the same organization?

    No. Participating students may elect to offer pro bono assistance in a variety of venues. The only restriction is the requirement that students commit at least ten hours to any placement organization or selected project during the semester of service.<<Back to Top

  5. If I elect to work for a particular organization as part of the Pro Bono Honors Program, am I precluded from seeking an academic internship at that same placement.

    No. The Pro Bono Honors Program and Academic Internships are two distinct programs, even though they have many overlapping placements and similar components in their missions and implementation. Although a student may chose to pursue an Academic Internship in the same venue as the Pro Bono Honors Program, hours worked for that organization may only be counted one time and accrued toward satisfying the requirements of one program. It may be, however, that after exposure to a particular placement through the Pro Bono Honors Program, a student will elect to return to that organization for an Academic Internship under the Public Interest Clinic or vice versa. However, despite the common elements of both programs, they also have distinct goals. The focus of Academic Internships includes the development of lawyering skills and transition into the profession. For that reason, students are encouraged to consult with the Academic Internship Program in selecting a placement, realistically assessing existing lawyering skills, and developing an action plan to develop or hone those skills during the internship experience. <<Back to Top

  6. I don’t think I will be able to complete the fifty hours required for certification during the last two years of law school. But, I want to give something back to the community. Can I use the Pro Bono Honors Program to help find a service opportunity even though I never plan to request a certificate?

    Yes. The Pro Bono Honors Program is committed to identifying opportunities for students to contribute pro bono service whenever possible. The certificate is only one aspect of that program. The only restriction is that we ask for a minimum ten-hour commitment to any organization or project.<<Back to Top

  7. I want to do pro bono service but I don’t know what organization to pick or what I have to offer at this stage in my legal education. What should I do?

    Many students, and even some practitioners, find themselves in this position. The impulse for public service is there. The stumbling block is identifying who needs that service and whether your education and professional experiences make you the right person to provide it. Helping you find answers to those questions is one of the services that the Pro Bono Honors Programs provides. We maintain a list of approved placements as well as the option for you to find and identify your own placement not on that list. The needs and demands of the wide range of placement opportunities can benefit from a wide range of lawyering skills. For example, some placements may emphasize interviewing and counseling, while others may benefit more from research or from document drafting. <<Back to Top

  8. When can a student begin work on the public service graduation requirement?

    After competing the first year of law school (30 credit hours).<<Back to Top

  9. How many hours of pro bono service are required for certification?

    A minimum of fifty hours is required over two years of law school. Students may work as many hours above that minimum as time and interest permit.<<Back to Top

  10. What kind of pro bono service qualifies for certification?

    ■ Work must be law-related. (Clerical work is appropriate only to the extent needed to carry out the overall legal task.)

    ■ Work must be uncompensated. (Students may not receive monetary
    compensation, academic credit or other tangible benefits for performing service.)

    ■ Work must be adequately supervised. Ultimately, an attorney must be responsible for the student’s work, and the student must be directly supervised on a day-to-day basis by an attorney, or other lay person with expertise in the relevant subject matter area, who is responsible for:

    • assigning the particular task to the student;
    • taking steps to assure the task’s successful completion, including training,
    oversight and provision of model forms or other documentation;
    • conducting an exit interview with the student; and
    • completing the Program’s mandatory evaluation form about the student.

    ■ Examples of approved placements include work for legal service organizations
    on behalf of nonprofit community groups, and for government offices responsible for protecting the right of individuals raising important public interest concerns. Work done for attorneys in private practice must be pro bono work on behalf of a person or group ordinarily unable to secure legal representation. <<Back to Top

  11. Do judicial clerkships count toward meeting the requirement?
  12. Does work qualify for holders of or candidates for political office?
  13. May I develop my own public service placement/s?

    Yes, BUT IT MUST BE PRE-APPROVED OR NO CREDIT TOWARD CERTIFICATION WILL BE GIVEN.<<Back to Top

 

Pre-approved pro bono placement information is available in the office of the Pro Bono Honors Program, located in the office of the Associate Dean of Clinical Studies - Suite 236T.

 

 

 

1303 San Jacinto - Room 236T
Houston, Texas 77002

713-646-1843