Pro Bono at Columbia Law School: The Basics
SJI staff is here to help guide you towards a personalized pro bono experience that will not only be meaningful to you, but will help to shape and hone your legal skills and establish relationships that will further your career.
Under the New York State Pro Bono requirements, persons who apply for admission to the New York State bar after January 1st, 2015 must provide documentation that they have performed fifty hours of pro bono service. The guidelines for the New York State bar requirements differs in some important ways from Columbia Law School's pro bono requirements. For the most up to date information on the New York State Bar pro bono requirements, please visit their website.
Every Columbia Law School J.D. student must complete 40 hours of pro bono work in order to graduate. Work that counts towards the mandatory pro bono requirement must be completed after the first year of law school and before April 1 of the third year. Pro bono work completed during your 1L summer will count for mandatory pro bono credit as long as the proper paperwork is filed.
Any pro bono work completed beyond the required 40 hours or during your first year of law school will count as voluntary pro bono credit, and will be recorded as such on your transcript as long as the proper paperwork is filed. Most students do voluntary pro bono work.
Columbia Law School and Social Justice Initiatives offer a multitude of existing pro bono projects and opportunities to you. We send weekly emails notifying you of new projects seeking student help. Additionally, we encourage you to create and develop projects tailored to your individual interests and needs. Information about qualifying pro bono work can be found on the Guidelines & Forms page.