The Pro Bono Program: Frequently Asked Questions

The Pro Bono Program: Frequently Asked Questions

What is UVA Law’s Pro Bono Program?

The University of Virginia School of Law encourages all students to engage in pro bono during their time at the Law School.  The Pro Bono Program supports this goal by offering support to student-led pro bono projects, providing pro bono clinics, semester and year-long projects, short-term (ad hoc) project, coordinating the winter break pro bono program and administering the Pro Bono Challenge.

Is the Pro Bono Challenge a graduation requirement?

The Pro Bono Challenge is a voluntary program and is not a requirement for graduation. However, all students are strongly encouraged to participate in pro bono during their time at the Law School. Students who complete the Challenge will be recognized at graduation and receive a certificate of achievement signed by the Dean.

Can I volunteer more than 75 hours of pro bono?

You can do as many hours of pro bono as you like, but you must log a minimum of 75 hours (25 hours for LL.M. students) in order to complete the Pro Bono Challenge.

Do I need to perform 25 hours annually or can 75 hours be completed in a single semester or year?

You do not need to log 25 hours annually to meet the Pro Bono Challenge and you can always volunteer more than this suggested annual minimum.  To meet the Challenge, you must log at least 75 hours (25 hours for LL.M. students) by May 1 by your graduation year.

What kind of work counts toward the Pro Bono Challenge?

The work must be law related (necessitating the use of legal skills), on behalf of a nonprofit organization, governmental agency, or private law firm providing pro bono legal services, supervised by an attorney or a Law School faculty member, completed while the student is enrolled at the Law School, and not done for academic credit or financial compensation.

Can 1Ls participate in the pro bono program?

All  students are encouraged to participate in the Pro Bono Program as soon as they feel ready. Many first-year students will do pro bono during the fall semester, but others will wait until winter break or the spring semester. Before committing to a pro bono project, consider your ability to successfully take on such a project in addition to your academic and other commitments. Some projects are not available to first-year students due to the need for more advanced legal skills.

Can LL.M.s participate in the pro bono program?

All students are encouraged to participate in the Pro Bono Program regardless of class year or career plans. LLMs who log at least 25 hours of pro bono service will meet the Pro Bono Challenge.

How do I log my hours for the Pro Bono Challenge?

To log your hours towards the Pro Bono Challenge, you must submit an online work log through GoodWorks at the completion of the project.

When do I need to log my hours by in order to qualify for the Pro Bono Challenge?

You should submit your work log immediately at the end of your project and no later than the last day of classes in the spring, even if you intend to continue volunteering on the same project over the summer or during the following academic year.

Does work done for a Law School clinic qualify as pro bono?

Work done in association with a law school clinic qualifies as pro bono only if the hours are supervised by a clinical faculty member, you confirm that you are not currently enrolled in the clinic, and/or provide written verification that the work is not being done for academic credit.

Does work for a Law School faculty member qualify as pro bono?

Volunteering for a faculty member on a pro bono matter (e.g., amicus brief or policy advocacy project) qualifies as pro bono. Assistance with the faculty member’s academic or scholarly research does not qualify. You may not receive any financial compensation for hours counted as pro bono.

Does non-legal volunteer work qualify as pro bono?

Non-legal, community service projects  such as tutoring, mentoring, or participating in food drives or a community build day do not qualify as pro bono. Such activities may qualify as public service for purposes of the PILA Grant application process.

Does work done for my summer employer qualify as pro bono?

Typically, no. Pro bono hours completed over the summer can be logged only if they are performed in addition to any work normally required by your summer employer. You may not be financially compensated during the period the pro bono hours are completed. Pro bono work done as  a summer associate does not qualify unless it is done on your own time outside of regularly scheduled working hours. Summer pro bono projects should be approved in advance by emailing

Does coordinating a student pro bono project qualify as pro bono?

If the project and the associated work qualify as pro bono, hours spent administering other students’ involvement with the project can be logged.  Time spent fundraising may not be logged as pro bono.  The project’s supervising attorney or faculty member must approve all pro bono hours.

Do judicial clerkships qualify as pro bono?

Clerking or interning for an individual judge does not qualify, but volunteer work for a court program that assists pro se litigants qualifies.

Does participation in a mock trial program qualify as pro bono?

Participation in mock trial programs targeting low-income or disadvantaged students qualifies, however programs directed at undergraduate or high school students generally do not count.

Does work for a political campaign qualify as pro bono?

Fundraising and other organizing projects for a partisan campaign are not considered pro bono. Nonpartisan poll monitoring that has attorney supervision does qualify as pro bono.

Does translating qualify as pro bono?

Hours spent on written or oral translation of legal documents and/or proceedings performed in conjunction with a pro bono case can be logged.

Does travel time qualify as pro bono?

Training and travel time directly related to the provision of pro bono services (e.g., travel to other law offices, jails or detention centers, etc.) qualifies as pro bono. Travel time to and from the pro bono work site cannot be logged.

Can I develop my own pro bono project?

Students are encouraged to create their own pro bono projects. Contact the staff of the Pro Bono Program ( for approval of your project.

May I volunteer for more than one project?

You may volunteer for more than one project, but consider starting with just one to be sure you have the time to take on additional work.

Do the hours I log towards the Pro Bono Challenge qualify for the New York State Bar Pro Bono Requirement?

The New York State Bar Pro Bono Requirement differs from the Law School’s Pro Bono Challenge and not all hours that count for one program qualify for the other. For example, clinics and summer public service internships can count towards the New York Bar’s requirement but not toward the Pro Bono Challenge.  Work for VITA and Street Law qualify for the Pro Bono Challenge, but probably don’t for the New York Bar’s requirements. See  New York Bar Pro Bono Admission Requirement for additional information.

If you have questions that are not covered here, please contact us at

 Chinmayi Sharma

Chinmayi Sharma '19

"The available projects are diverse, engaging and far from overly time-consuming. "