Pro Bono Opportunities for Law Students
Using their legal studies in the name of the public good is important to many of our students, so we offer many ways for students to engage in pro bono work while at New England Law. This type of work is often the first chance a new law student might have to communicate directly with a client or draft a legal document, and this hands-on experience is a rewarding way to build legal skills.
New England Law students may conduct pro bono work wherever their legal passions take them, whether it’s through our Academic Centers, with student groups such as the Public Interest Law Association, or at external organizations. Just a few examples of pro bono activities at New England Law include:
- Business and Human Rights Project: Holds corporations accountable for actions that negatively impact human rights, through such endeavors as providing testimony before the state government, conducting research with the Institute for Human Rights and Business, and participating in dialogue fostered by the United Nations
- Criminal Justice Project: Pursues litigation, legislation, education, and policy reform to make the criminal justice system fairer for low-income people
- Human Rights and Immigration Law Project: Involves students in immigration, refugee, migration, and human rights–based work, including helping local law firms with their pro bono asylum cases and combating human trafficking
- Sanctuary City Initiative: Informs and supports local communities, cities, counties, and states as they consider how best to protect all the residents within their communities, regardless of immigration status
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program: Provides free tax return preparation assistance to those in need (in conjunction with national program)
- Women’s and Children’s Advocacy Project: Focuses on the protection of victims of domestic and sexual violence, from keeping shelters and crisis centers up to date on current laws to identifying and changing inappropriate language in court opinions
- And many more.
(Wondering what this work is really like? Get the student perspective here: What Public Interest Law Means to Me.)
FACT: In 2017, New England Law tied with Harvard for the most students on the Pro Bono Honor Roll (Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court)
Receive Recognition on Your Transcript
Students engaged in volunteer public service legal work have two opportunities to earn recognition for their work. The first is New England Law’s own Public Service Transcript Notation Program, which gives qualifying students formal recognition on their law school transcript as well as the school’s Public Service Honor Roll.
The second is the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Pro Bono Honor Roll, which recognizes law students across Massachusetts who complete qualifying pro bono work. New England Law students are represented in impressive numbers on the Supreme Judicial Court Honor Roll, with twenty-five students earning the honor in 2016 and another twenty-one in 2017.
Both of these recognitions are meaningful demonstrations of a student’s commitment to public service, and the honors will carry forward throughout their job search and legal career.