Pro Bono Society

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./S.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:

    1) Project Requirements
                   - Law-related
                   - Uncompensated
                   - No Academic Credit 
                   - Supervised/Trained 
   - Serve Eligible Clients 

    2) Ethics Course
                   Students are required to complete the Pro Bono Program's online professionalism and ethics 
        course BEFORE any pro bono work will be credited towards Pro Bono Society hours. Students will 
        
then log the date they completed the course on the student time log. 

    3) Student Time Log
                   - Hours Submission: Must adhere to the hours submission deadlines. 
                   - Training: A maximum of six (6) hours will be credited towards Pro Bono Society hours.
                   - Travel: No travel hours will be credited towards Pro Bono Society hours. 
                   - Planning/Preparation: A maximum of ten (10) hours of planning, preparation, and 
                     interviewing for a pre-existing opportunity (such as the Indian Wills CaravanLADR
                     or VITAwill be credited towards Pro Bono Society hours. If you are planning a brand new 
                     opportunity for students, please contact us before you begin.

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./S.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. Additionally, you will receive one purple honors cord at 50 hours or one purple and gold honors cord at 100 hours. 

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.

Special Recognition: Additionally, every year we will have a special recognition for graduating 3L students who provided 150 or more hours of pro bono service during their tenure at the Law School. For example, May 2015 graduates were invited to a dinner hosted by Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson. We hope to have a unique and hopefully equally-exciting recognition for graduating 3Ls with 150 or more hours every May.

We will only count 100 hours per opportunity towards this special recognition. This means that you cannot get all 150 hours from the same opportunity and qualify for this special recognition. The hours over 100 will still count for the Pro Bono Society but after 100 hours they will not count towards the special recognition. To give an example, someone completing 100 hours with XYZ Opportunity and 50 hours with TUV Opportunity will qualify, someone completing 150 hours with XYZ Opportunity will not qualify unless they complete another 50 hours at a different opportunity or opportunities.

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