Pro Bono Program

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The Pro Bono Honors Program gives student the opportunity to work with underserved populations both in traditional and non-traditional legal settings. Projects and non-profit organizations are in need of law students to help meet their missions. These projects enable law students to gain valuable experience, as well as serve a vital function within the community. All lawyers should be committed to using their unique education and skills to help these underserved populations.

This program is designed for Thomas Jefferson School of Law students to encourage community-based volunteer legal service projects.  The program offers students an opportunity to become involved in the community, enhance their law school experience, and build practical legal skills.

TJSL partners with non-profit organizations, law firms, the San Diego County Bar Association, dozens of legal agencies and other interested entities to accomplish this goal.  We desire to cultivate communal involvement within our own TJSL community by engaging faculty, administration, staff and alumni in our efforts to work within our own region.

These opportunities allow any student who devotes at least 50 hours (not for credit or compensation) of volunteer legal service, specifically to underserved populations, to qualify for TJSL’s Pro Bono Honors Program.  Students receiving Pro Bono Honors will obtain an honors certificate and an honors cord that can be worn at graduation that reflects their commitment to the community.

You may work towards your 50 hours of Pro Bono service throughout you tenure as a law student at TJSL.  You do not have to complete all 50 hours with a single employer.

What type of work is acceptable for the purposes of this program?

  • Work directly related to the delivery of legal services to under-resourced individuals by attorneys of organizations (e. g.  Legal Aid Society, San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program);
  • Work for an attorney or attorneys on behalf of non-profit organizations, donations to which qualify as deductions under state or federal tax laws (e. g.  San Diego Coastkeeper, environmental Health Coalition, National Wildlife Federation);
  • Work for federal, state, or local government agencies that provide legal services to low-income individuals (e. g.  Public Defender’s Office, Family Law Facilitator);
  • Work for pre-approved student-initiated projects (e. g.  TJSL Clinics, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, holocaust litigation, death penalty appeals, etc. )

For more information, please contact the Director of Externships and Pro Bono Programs: Judybeth Tropp, Esq.