PB/CS Requirements

THE UNIVERSITY OF AKRON
SCHOOL OF LAW

COMMUNITY AND PRO BONO PUBLICO SERVICE REQUIREMENT

Original Approved by the Law Faculty
Thursday, February 18, 2010

Revised and Approved by the Law Faculty
Thursday, September 15, 2011 – see yellow highlights for updates

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COMMUNITY AND PRO BONO PUBLICO SERVICE REQUIREMENT

To provide positive experiences to law students that will promote their future involvement as practitioners and provide independent educational value (direct knowledge) concerning the plight of persons of limited means and their access to justice, the University of Akron School of Law adopts the following Community and Pro Bono Publico Service Requirement policy.  This policy applies to law students entering in the Fall Semester 2010 and thereafter.

COMMUNITY SERVICE DEFINED

Community service is broadly defined as any unremunerated service that is performed for the benefit of the public, its institutions, or for non-profit organizations as defined under IRS sections 501(c)(3) & (4).  For purposes of this policy remuneration includes, but is not limited to, academic credit, financial compensation, grants and stipends.

PRO BONO PUBLICO SERVICE DEFINED

Pro bono publico service is community service (as defined above) that consists of the rendering of law-related service under the supervision of an attorney.

REQUIREMENTS

J.D. students are required to complete a minimum of 30 community service hours subject to the following additional conditions:

  • A minimum of 15 of the 30 community service hours must involve service to persons of limited means or to organizations that are dedicated primarily to serving such persons.
  • A minimum of 10 of the 30 community service hours must be in pro bono publico service (as defined above). 
  • A minimum of 5 of the 10 pro bono publico service hours must involve service to persons of limited means or to organizations that are dedicated primarily to serving such persons. 

When a student accumulates hours at a for-credit placement or externship, the hours required to qualify for the credit shall not count toward the community and pro bono publico service requirement.  However, any service hours over and above those required to qualify for credit shall count toward the community and pro bono publico service requirement.

When a student receives financial compensation through a fellowship, grant, stipend or scholarship to support a placement or externship, the hours needed to earn the financial compensation at the prevailing rate shall not count toward the community and pro bono publico service requirement.  However, any service hours over and above those required to earn the financial compensation received by the student shall count toward the community and pro bono publico service requirement.

Law students on a leave of absence may accumulate hours to meet the Community and Pro Bono Publico Service requirement. Law students serving a suspension may not accumulate community service or pro bono public hours for purposes of meeting the requirements of this policy.

A list of community and pro bono publico service placements is kept by the Student Community and Pro Bono Publico Service Coordinator.  This list will evolve over time.  If any student is familiar with an organization or project that appears to meet the community or pro bono publico service definitions but is not on the list, that student should convey the information to the Student Community and Pro Bono Publico Service Coordinator for review.  If the organization or project meets the criteria, it will be added to the suggested placement list.

It is recommended that no more than 5 community service hours be attempted during the first semester in law school and no more than 10 community service hours during the first year in law school.

The Faculty Director of the Academic Resource Center has the discretion to credit or forgive any number of otherwise required community and pro bono publico service hours for any student who, because of a GPA at or below 2.3, is enrolled in the Academic Success Program.  The Faculty Director of the Academic Resource Center shall consider the educational value of community and pro bono publico service and is encouraged to consult with the Student Community and Pro Bono Publico Service Coordinator in making this determination.

REPORTING DEADLINES

Students are responsible for tracking their hours and reporting them to the Student Community and Pro Bono Publico Service Coordinator in a timely manner and no later than the following dates:

  • Hours served during the Fall Semester must be reported no later than the last business day of January
  • Hours served during the Spring Semester must be reported no later the last business day of June. 
  • Hours served during the summer must be reported no later than the last business day of September.
  • For all students who are candidates for graduation in December, service hours must be completed and reported by November 1st of that year.  For all students who are candidates for graduation in May, service hours must be completed and reported by April 1st of that year.

Failure to report community service hours by the applicable deadline will result in forfeiting those hours for purpose of the community service requirement absent rare and compelling circumstances.  Whether the student has demonstrated “rare and compelling circumstances” warranting accepting late-reported hours is in the sole discretion of the Student Community and Pro Bono Publico Service Coordinator.

These reporting deadlines apply to all students including those who entered law school in the Fall Semester 2010 with one exception: Any hours accumulated prior to the start of the Fall 2011 semester must be reported by the last business day of September 2011

RECOGNITION FOR ADDITIONAL COMMUNITY AND PRO BONO PUBLICO SERVICE HOURS

Students who complete more than the required 30 community and pro bono publico service hours will be recognized as follows: 

Exceptional Service Honors:  Students who complete 300 community and pro bono publico service hours will receive a notation on their transcripts and in the graduation bulletin acknowledging their “exceptional commitment to community and pro bono publico service” and will receive a community and pro bono publico service cord to wear at graduation.

Community and Pro Bono Publico Service Students of the Year:  The Student Community and Pro Bono Publico Service Coordinator will select one full-time and one part-time graduating student to be recognized at graduation as the Community and Pro Bono Publico Service Students of the Year.  In selecting the students to receive this honor the Student Community and Pro Bono Publico Service Coordinator shall consider the number of service hours, the quality of work, the positive impact the student has had on the community and other relevant factors.

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Akron, OH 44325
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