Pro Bono Graduation Requirement

Stetson JD students must complete 60 hours of pro bono service as a condition of graduation. At least 30 of those hours must be legal pro bono, and the remaining 30 may be legal pro bono, non-legal public service work, or a combination of the two. Please note that non-legal public service work is also commonly referred to as community service in the context of Stetson's pro bono graduation requirement. 

The 60-hour requirement is a mandatory component of the JD program, and students may begin working towards the requirement as soon as they feel comfortable, including during the first year of law school. If students do not meet the requirement, they will not be permitted to graduate. Students who complete at least 120 hours of pro bono service prior to graduation may be eligible to receive the William F. Blews Pro Bono Service Award.

LLM students do not have a pro bono requirement for Stetson Law. 

Meeting the Requirement 

Activities that qualify as legal pro bono includes work that is: 
  • Law-related.
  • Not for compensation or credit, except students who successfully complete a clinic course will receive 30 hours of pro bono at the end of the semester. Please note that pro bono hours earned in a clinic will not count in computing pro bono hours for the Blews Award. 
  • Supervised by a licensed attorney or law faculty member (directly or in-directly), except where the work is otherwise approved by the Pro Bono Committee as legal pro bono. Such exceptions include participation in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Guardian ad Litem (GAL) programs, and Teen Court. 
  • For a non-profit, public interest organization, government entity, or faculty member engaged in a pro bono project. In addition, time spent on a pro bono matter for a private attorney or law firm is eligible, so long as the student is not receiving compensation for their work. 
Activities that qualify as non-legal public service includes work that is: 
  • Helping to fulfill an external community need that would otherwise be unmet, except some activities that benefit the Stetson Law community specifically may qualify for credit. 
  • Not for compensation or credit. 
  • On behalf of a non-profit, government agency, or other public interest organization/cause. 

Students are required to log all hours on the College of Law Pro Bono GivePulse Platform, except hours earned through a clinic course.

For more information on the graduation requirement, please refer to the below pro bono policies and FAQs. All students are responsible for reviewing and complying with the following pro bono policies: 

Public Service Requirement (For JD students who enter in or after Fall 2018) 

Pro Bono Policy Re: Student Organizations and Community Service on Campus 

Student Organization Noncash Donation Drives and Nonlegal Pro Bono Hours

If you experience any issues accessing the above policies, please contact [email protected]


Still have questions? Contact [email protected] prior to starting your work. 


Students have a range of options when looking for pro bono opportunities. 

  • Attend the Pro Bono Fair, which is held in October of each year, to meet with representatives of local non-profit and government organizations recruiting volunteers for pro bono opportunities. 
  • Monitor the Stetson Law Communications page and Symplicity for the latest pro bono opportunity postings sent to Stetson Law by organizations that are actively recruiting volunteers. 
  • Read the Office of Career and Professional Development's monthly Public Interest Newsletter.  
  • Sign up for PSJD is a national database that lists announcements for internships and projects (both pro bono and paid) with public interest organizations, government agencies, judges, and private public interest law firms. Use your Stetson Law email address to set up an account. 
  • Explore volunteer opportunity websites, such as, to find one-time or long-term community service opportunities. 
  • Set up an advising appointment with Stephanie Storke, Assistant Director of Public Interest Careers and Pro Bono, to discuss your various options and find an opportunity that is a good fit for you. Email [email protected] to set up an appointment. 

Keep in mind that these suggestions are only a starting point. There are many public interest and public service oriented organizations that do not actively recruit law student volunteers, but may still be willing to host you for a pro bono project or opportunity. The Office of Career and Professional Development can assist you in finding a placement that is a good match for you and the organization.  

Law-related work is construed broadly, and eligible tasks may include: 

  • Research and writing 
  • Drafting documents
  • Assisting pro se litigants in court
  • Preparing a case for trial
  • Assisting an attorney at trial
  • Client and witness interviewing and investigation 
  • Community legal education, such as participation in know-your-rights trainings 

Working on pro bono cases at a law firm while receiving compensation for any work does not qualify for pro bono credit. If you volunteer additional hours after the paid program ends, those hours may qualify for pro bono credit if the entire time is uncompensated and all work is on a pro bono case. Additionally, the law firm must not receive compensation for its work on the case. 

If you hope to perform pro bono with a law firm or private attorney, you must submit a letter from the supervising attorney that (1) provides a brief summary of the work you will do; (2) certifies that the attorney will not be compensated for the case; and (3) states that your work will be supervised by a licensed attorney. This letter should be uploaded to the College of Law Pro Bono GivePulse Platform when you submit your hours. Please be sure not to disclose any confidential or privileged information in the letter. To obtain a template attorney certification letter, email [email protected]

Yes, unpaid judicial internships are eligible for legal pro bono credit if the student is not receiving academic credit for their work. 

Yes. Students who successfully complete a clinic will receive 30 hours of legal pro bono at the end of the semester. The Registrar's Office will automatically add the credit at the end of the semester upon receipt of a passing grade. Students enrolled in multiple clinics over the course of their law school career will earn 30 hours of credit after each successful completion. Students should note that pro bono hours earned in a clinic will not count in computing pro bono hours for the William F. Blews Pro Bono Service award. 

Externs are not entitled to pro bono credit for hours completed during the semester that they are externing. Students may earn pro bono credit for work performed for a public interest or public service office hosting them an extern, only if those hours were worked before or after the semester which the student was enrolled in the externship. 

Yes, students may earn some non-legal hours engaging in certain on-campus activities that benefit the Stetson Law community specifically if: (1) the student is providing a service that is necessary for the administration of a program, a course, a project or a special event; and (2) student volunteer participation was specifically solicited by a faculty or staff member. 

These activities may include assisting with the Higher Education Conference, the EATS Conference, national/regional moot court competitions, or serving as a volunteer witness for a competition team. 

Please note that students can earn no more than 10 pro bono hours throughout their law school career for engaging in these types of activities. Students are encouraged to contact [email protected] before engaging in on-campus activities for non-legal community service credit to ensure their work qualifies. 

Students are required to log all pro bono hours on the College of Law Pro Bono GivePulse Platform, except hours earned through a clinic course. After submitting your hours, your supervising attorney or volunteer coordinator will receive an email through GivePulse requesting verification of your hours. 

Some tips to be aware of when inputting your pro bono hours: 

  • The Group Name should always say College of Law Pro Bono.
  • If you are using a timesheet, you are in the wrong form.
  • If you did not answer whether your hours were legal or non-legal, you are entering them in the wrong form. 
  • Even if your supervisor has approved your hours, if they are under the wrong group name, they will not sync to your Banner account. You will not receive credit for your hours until they are moved to the correct form. 

To access the GivePulse Platform, click here. If you are having difficulty reporting your hours, please contact [email protected]

Upon successful completion of a clinic course (receipt of a passing grade), students are automatically awarded 30 hours of legal pro bono credit at the end of the semester. You do not need to submit these hours on GivePulse. The Registrar's Office will automatically add the credit at the end of the semester upon successful completion. 

Time spent traveling to or from a volunteer commitment does not count. 

You may count time spent receiving training only if you perform the substantive work for which you are being trained. For example, if you attend a tax assistance volunteer training but never actually sign up up to volunteer, you cannot count the training time. All training time must be recorded as non-legal hours, whether the substantive work performed is legal or non-legal.

In honor of William F. Blews, JD '66, the College of Law has established this award to recognize those students who perform at least twice the number of pro bono service hours required for graduation. Awards are presented to students at graduation. To be eligible, students must complete at least 120 hours of pro bono service. Recipients of the award wear blue cords over their graduation robes and are recognized in the Commencement Program. To have your name recognized in the Commencement Program for graduation, it is recommended that you submit your hours by the beginning of the month preceding your graduation. For example, if you are graduating in May, you should have your hours submitted, verified by your supervisor, and network verified by April 1.

Please note that pro bono hours earned in a clinic will not count in computing pro bono hours for the William F. Blews Pro Bono Service Award.