Pro Bono Opportunities
At Cincinnati Law, service to the community matters. Since 1997, Cincinnati Law students have provided almost 10,000 hours of pro bono legal services in the Greater Cincinnati community. That tradition of service continues to be an important part of the Cincinnati Law experience.
William S. Richardson Champions for Public Service and Pro Bono Recognition
Students who perform at least 50 hours of independent law-related public service during their time at the College of Law shall be designated William S. Richardson Champions for Public Service. This award is named for Cincinnati Law alum William S. Richardson, former chief justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court and a champion for native Hawaiians’ rights. William S. Richardson Champions for Public Service will be recognized at the Cincinnati Law hooding ceremony and receive a certificate.
Students who perform 15 or more hours of pro bono legal work in a semester receive an official notation on their transcript.
Impact through Pro Bono Work
Pro bono service generally refers to attorneys providing legal services without compensation to traditionally underserved individuals and non-profit organizations. At Cincinnati Law, "Pro Bono activities” are defined as independent law-related public service activities.
1. “Independent” means activities for which the student:
(a) does not receive compensation
(b) does not receive a Summer Public Interest Funding and
(c) has not received academic credit.
2. “Law-related public service” means public service that attempts to alleviate social problems relating to legal processes, or otherwise addresses problems that attorneys and law students are well equipped to solve using legal skills or other skills that lawyers normally utilize. Such law-related public service can be provided to the following: one or more individuals; organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties or public rights; or charitable, religious, civic, community, government and educational organizations in matters in furtherance of their organizational purposes. Such law-related public service must be conducted under the supervision of a licensed attorney.
Activity Pre-approval and Reporting Requirements
Independent law-related public service hours may be earned in 1) a Cincinnati Law sponsored pro bono activity or 2) in an activity developed by individual students with the prior approval of Assistant Director of the Center for Professional Development. Students are required to log their hours in Symplicity by going to My Account > Pro Bono.
First Year Student Participation in Pro Bono Program
First year students may participate in the pro bono program only through Cincinnati Law sponsored pro bono programs that are approved for first year participation by the Assistant Director in consultation with the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Diversity.
Lawyers have a license to practice law…But for that privilege and status, lawyers have an obligation to provide legal services to those without the wherewithal to pay, to respond to needs outside themselves, to help repair tears in their communities.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg