January 11, 2017

Maggie O'Neill (3L)

The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law's participation in a Veterans Pro Bono Pop-Up Clinic was mentioned in Legal News as an example of one of the ways law students from across the country have served thousands of clients and devoted millions of hours in services. During the Pop-Up clinic, CUA Law students were paired with a volunteer attorney to collect client data, conduct issue spotlighting, and provide legal information and referrals to veterans.

The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) has launched an annual project to calculate law schools' collective contributions to the delivery of much-needed legal services through clinics, other experiential courses, and pro bono activities of law students.

Through a survey, AALS found that 80 law schools reported that 17,899 law students in the class of 2016 contributed more than 2.2 million hours in legal services as part of their legal education, an average of about 124 hours per student.

Independent Sector, a nonprofit organization coalition, estimates the value of volunteer time to be $23.56 an hour. Using this number, the total value of the students' time at these schools is estimated to be in excess of $52.2 million. Many hours go unreported, so the actual contributions are likely to be significantly higher.

Many CUA Law students take the Pro Bono Pledge, where they commit to complete varying levels of pro bono service during their three or four years of law school. The CUA Law Pro Bono Program fosters the importance of hands-on learning opportunities to assist those in need of access to justice. Pro Bono projects enable students to apply the lessons they have learned in the classroom to real-life cases while advancing their professional development.

Daniel Boatright (3L), who volunteered at the Veteran's Pro Bono Pop-Up Clinic, stated that he 'was able to substantively help several veterans with their problems' and felt he was able to 'make a real impact in their lives.'