The Catholic University of America

CUA Law Pro Bono program

The Pro Bono Program at CUA Law is on the spectrum of experiential learning opportunities available to students throughout their tenure here. Pro bono projects enable students to apply lessons learned in the classroom out in the community, advancing their professional development while benefiting those in need of services. Participation is voluntary, and the range of options available to CUA law students being sited in nation's capital is extensive.


What counts as Pro Bono?

The following criteria, modeled after ABA Model Rule 6.1, must be met for a student’s work to qualify as pro bono for the purposes of recognition by the CUA Law Pro Bono Program:

1.     The law student must engage in law-related activities.

2.     The law student’s work must be supervised and/or approved by an attorney.

3.     No academic credit or financial compensation may be received for the work.

4.     The law-related services must be provided for free or at a substantially reduced rate.

5.     The law-related activities must be on behalf of:

    a. person(s) of limited financial means; or

    b. person(s) with limited access to legal representation; or

    c. nonprofit, civic, community, religious or governmental  organizations seeking to promote access to justice.

6.     The project must be approved by the Pro Bono Coordinator.  A student may submit hours for a project after it has been completed, but eligibility for pro bono program inclusion cannot be guaranteed without pre-approval.

Pre-approved pro bono opportunities on the Pro Bono at CUA Law TWEN page. Students are also encouraged to seek out their own pro bono projects but must secure approval from the Pro Bono Coordinator for the work to count toward their Challenge hours.

What is the Pro Bono Challenge?

Through the Pro Bono Challenge, CUA students pledge to complete varying levels of pro bono service during their three or four years of law school. Students can pledge at any of the following levels and will be recognized accordingly:

·       One pro bono project of any duration

·       25 hours of pro bono (Pro Bono Service Honors Certificate; notation in graduation bulletin)

·       50 hours of pro bono (Outstanding Pro Bono Service Honors Certificate; graduation bulletin)

·       75+ hours of pro bono (Exceptional Pro Bono Service Honors Certificate; graduation bulletin)

Additionally, each year, the Law School recognizes exceptional student pro bono service at graduation with the Michael F. Curtin Pro Bono Award, given to the graduating student who has honored the highest ideals of the Columbus School of Law by voluntary pro bono service to others, taking into account the number of pro bono hours performed, the diversity of pro bono service, its impact on the community, continuity of pro bono service throughout one's law school career, and one's efforts to instill the ethic in fellow students, among other factors. The award is named in tribute to alumnus Michael F. Curtin, in recognition of his more than 40 years of leadership and selfless dedication to the Law School and the legal profession.

New York State Bar Pro Bono Requirement:  Beginning January 1, 2015, all applicants for admission by examination to the New York State bar must perform 50 hours of law-related pro bono service prior to application filing.  Note that while the definition of pro bono under the New York rule is expansive, projects for which students receive pro bono credit at CUA Law may not fall within it.  For further information, visit the New York State Courts' website.

Students: To learn about current pro bono opportunities, add "Pro Bono at CUA Law" as a course on TWEN.

Employers / Legal Services Organizations: Post pro bono projects to get student assistance!

Alumni: Get student assistance with your pro bono projects and help your alma mater at the same time!

Questions? Please contact Jen Tschirch at or (202) 319-5132.