Coronavirus Information and Update: Fall 2021 Plans

Pro Bono & Community Service

Started in 1998, Lewis & Clark Law School’s Pro Bono & Community Service Program helps students find volunteer opportunities at nonprofit organizations, courts, and government offices. Those who contribute and report 30 or more hours during the year receive an Honors Award in recognition of their commitment.  

Employers

Employers interested in recruiting volunteers during the school year are encouraged to participate in our Pro Bono & Community Service Fair in September. Employers interested in volunteer summer interns should consider participating in the Northwest Public Service Career Fair.

For questions about either fair, or to recruit for long or short-term projects and volunteer events, contact Lexie Zirschky, Director of Public Interest Law. 

Looking for Legal Assistance?

The Pro Bono Program does not provide legal advice.  If you need help, please visit OregonLawHelp.org for a directory of free and low cost legal services or visit the Oregon State Bar Public Information Site.

Students

How Does the Pro Bono & Community Service Honors Program Work?

Volunteer hours are measured from April 1st of one year to March 31st of the next year with hours reported by Thursday, March 31, 2022. Qualifying work must be done without pay or credit and must have a significant off-campus effect. 

The Director of Public Interest Law works with employers to develop volunteer opportunities, and is available to discuss those opportunities with students. To ensure that you receive updates about pro bono opportunities, log in to Career Connect, go to your background tab, select email lists, and choose Pro Bono.

To obtain either the Pro Bono Honors Award or the Community Service Honors Award, you must report 30 hours of qualifying work. To obtain the Public Interest Certificate, you must report 50 hours of Pro Bono service, in addition to meeting the other requirements of the certificate. Honors awards are issued on an annual basis in late spring, and appear in the commencement program for graduating students.  

How do I report my hours? 

Students can report hours in Career Connect. Click on “Experiential Learning” in the left-hand sidebar and follow the instructions to submit for initial approval, enter hours, and submit for final approval. 

For complete details, see the Pro Bono & Community Service Honors Program Handbook.

How do I find volunteer opportunities? 
  • Join the Pro Bono & Community Service Fair – Meet with representatives from local organizations and sign up to assist with ongoing projects. 
  • Review the Public Service and Public Interest Directory (available from Lexie) – Contact an organization listed in the directory to discuss volunteer opportunities. 
  • Explore PSJD.org – Search the national listings for opportunities and organizations.
  • Explore Volunteer Opportunity Web Sites – Find one-time or long-term community service opportunities at IdealistHands On Portland, and CNRG. Check out Giving Way (for international opportunities), Volunteer Match, Points of Light, and All for Good.
  • Meet with the Director of Public Interest Law  – Talk about what you want to do and who you want to help. Email Lexie to set up an appointment or, if she is your advisor, set up an appointment through Career Connect.

Unlawful Practice of Law

Students must be cautious to avoid the unlawful practice of law, which includes: 1) holding themselves out, in any manner, as attorneys or lawyers authorized to practice law; 2) appearing, personally or otherwise, on behalf of another in any judicial or administrative proceeding other than as an attorney-supervised certified law student; 3) providing advice or service to another on any matter involving the application of legal principles to rights, duties, obligations, or liabilities.

For more information on the unauthorized practice of law, visit the Oregon State Bar Unlawful Practice of Law Site

Any student who is uncertain whether what they are asked to do is the unlawful practice of law should immediately contact Career & Professional Development.