The Pro Bono Society was formed in September 2011 to recognize the outstanding efforts of law students engaged in pro bono during their tenure at UW Law School. Students will be recognized upon meeting the following benchmarks:
- LL.M. Graduates - 20 approved hours
- J.D. Graduates* - 50 approved hours
100 approved hours
Students who meet these benchmarks will be inducted into the Pro Bono Society and graduate with pro bono distinction.
Each student seeking membership into the Pro Bono Society must adhere to the following requirements:
- The work performed must be law-related, and students must be sufficiently trained by an attorney, law faculty member, or other licensed professional.
- Students must work in a volunteer capacity and may not receive any compensation for pro bono work counted towards the Pro Bono Program service hour requirements.
- Any work performed to fulfill requirements of a clinic or directed study project, or to otherwise obtain academic credit will not be counted towards recognized pro bono hours.
- Time spent traveling to and from a volunteer site will not be counted as pro bono service.
- A maximum of six hours of direct training may be credited toward service hours.
- Class of 2015 and onward: Students are required to complete the professionalism and ethics course BEFORE any pro bono activities performed after January 21, 2014 will be eligible towards Pro Bono Society benchmarks. In other words, any pro bono hours completed between January 21, 2014 and prior to course completion are ineligible towards Pro Bono Society benchmarks. Students will be required to verify they have completed the course on the student time log.
Students are encouraged to request individual advising sessions with Pro Bono Program staff to identify and apply for projects tailored to their interests and to become eligible for recognition for their service. Program staff can provide resources for students, including specific information about current pro bono opportunities and contact information for site coordinators.
* For J.D. Students, the Pro Bono Program has two levels of recognition for the Pro Bono Society - one at 50 hours and one at 100 hours of pro bono service. The Commencement Program, the Honors and Awards Program, and the Pro Bono Society certificate will denote which level you have attained.
The Commencement Program will have one of the following designations after your name, depending on the level you attain.
For 50 - 99 hours, there will be one † after your name and the corresponding key will say “† Pro Bono Society Member with 50+ hours of service.”
For 100+ hours, there will be one ‡ after your name and the corresponding key will say “‡ Pro Bono Society Member with 100+ hours of service.”
The Honors and Awards Program will list your name under the appropriate category: 50+ Hours or 100+ Hours.
The language on the Pro Bono Society certificates will differ, depending on the level you attain.
For 50 - 99 hours the certificate will say: “You are hereby inducted into the University of Wisconsin Law School Pro Bono Society and granted this award of distinction for exemplary pro bono service for contributing over 50 hours of pro bono work.”
For 100+ hours the certificate will say: “You are hereby inducted into the University of Wisconsin Law School Pro Bono Society and granted this award of distinction for exemplary pro bono service for contributing over 100 hours of pro bono work.”
We have two levels of recognition in order to encourage students to continue submitting their time once they reach 50 hours and to recognize their substantial contributions to pro bono service. If you have any questions please contact the Pro Bono Program Coordinator.