The Catholic University of America

The CUA Law Pro Bono Program 

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About Our Program

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 you to apply the lessons you have learned in the classroom to real-life cases while advancing your professional development. Participation in the program is voluntary, and there is a range of diverse opportunities to take part in. 


  • The CUA Law Pro Bono Program

    The Columbus School of Law has a unique mission of service that is exemplified by the school’s dedication to pro bono work, a commitment shared by the student body, faculty, and alumni.

    From your first week on campus, you will have the opportunity to meet the CUA Law Pro Bono Program’s Coordinator who plans the annual Community Service Day. On this day, you get a chance to give back to the local community while also getting to know your fellow classmates. The goal of this day is to highlight the importance of service to those in need. As you move forward in your legal career, you must make time to do pro bono work and the Pro Bono Program is here to help you take that first step in law school.

    As a first-year student, you are encouraged to take part in pro bono opportunities as soon as you feel ready. The CUA Law Pro Bono Coordinator will help you find a project that interests you and fits in with your busy academic calendar. You are welcome to make an appointment with the Pro Bono Coordinator, Kiva Zytnick

    If you feel passionate about public interest law and are motivated to dedicate your time at the law school to pro bono you can take the pro bono pledge (see section below). 


  • Take The Pro Bono Pledge

    Through the Pro Bono Pledge, a student commits to complete varying levels of pro bono service during their three or four years of law school. Students can pledge at one of the following levels and will receive a Pro Bono Service Honors Certificate in recognition of their service at graduation:

    50 hours of pro bono

    100 hours of pro bono 

    150 hours of pro bono

    In addition, each year at graduation, the law school recognizes one exceptional student for their pro bono service by awarding them with the Michael F. Curtin Pro Bono Award. The award is given to the graduating student who has honored the highest ideals of the Columbus School of Law. Some of the factors considered for this award are: the student's dedicated hours to pro bono work, the diversity of their pro bono service, its impact on the community, the student's continuous involvement in pro bono service throughout law school, and student's efforts to instill the importance of pro bono participation in their classmates. 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.

  • What Counts As Pro Bono

    The following criteria 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. Community Service is not included because it is not legal in nature.

    2.      An attorney must supervise or approve the work. If an attorney does not supervise the work, but the Experiential Learning Program has approved the work for the purposes of an externship, please discuss this work with the Pro Bono Coordinator.

    3.      The student cannot receive academic credit or financial compensation for the work:

    a)      Students taking an externship for two credits will receive credit for 120 hours of work. Students can count any hours up to 100 over the 120 toward pro bono if it meets the other five requirements of this definition.

    b)      Students taking an externship for three credits will receive credit for 180 hours of work. Students can count any hours up to 100 over the 180 toward pro bono if it meets the other five requirements of this definition.

    c)      Students who receive no academic credit or monetary compensation for work at an internship can count up to a maximum of 100 hours towards the pro bono program if it meets the other five requirements of this definition.

    d)      CUA Law students participating in a CCLS clinic for credit cannot submit clinic hours for pro bono credit.

    4.      The employer or host organization must provide the law-related services for free or at a substantially reduced rate.

    5.      The work must be on behalf of:

    a)      a person or persons of limited financial means;

    b)      a person or persons with limited access to legal representation; or

    c)      Alternatively, the work can be on behalf of a nonprofit, civic, community, religious, or governmental organizations that promote access to justice. You must be able to justify how the organization’s work promotes access to justice. Judicial internships may be considered pro bono and, as above, hours may be counted if you received no compensation or credit up to a maximum of 100 hours.

    6.      The Pro Bono Coordinator must approve the project and reserves the right to deny the inclusion of hours. A student may submit hours for a project after it is completed, but eligibility for pro bono program inclusion cannot be guaranteed without pre-approval. Transfer students cannot submit pro bono hours earned while at their previous institution, including hours earned during the summer before transferring.




Contact Us 

Pro Bono Coordinator:

Kiva Zytnick  

Phone: 202-319-5132 



Attention Alumni: 

If you have a pro bono project, and would like a current law student to help you, click here for more information.