Stetson Law wins Florida Bar Foundation Pro Bono Law School Challenge

The Florida Bar Foundation announced the winners of the 2021 Florida Pro Bono Law School Challenge April 5, and Stetson University College of Law won the top honor, the MVP Pro Bono Champion Award, for matching the most students with its own alumni.

“I am so pleased to see us recognized for work related to helping close the justice gap,” said Professor Judith Scully. “As one of the founders of the Stetson Social Justice Advocacy Program and current chair of the Pro Bono Committee, I could not think of a better way to end this semester.”  

For the third year in a row, students and lawyers used an online platform at FloridaLawSchoolChallenge.org to choose cases hosted by legal aid programs. Florida’s law schools competed for six weeks to see which could take the most pro bono cases. Students and lawyers from all of Florida’s 12 law schools participated. Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law won for most student engagement. Ave Maria School of Law won for the most alumni engagement.

Legal aid programs also competed to post the most cases online during the Challenge; CABA Pro Bono Legal Services, Legal Services of North Florida, and Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida were winners.

“It is a testament to our state’s law schools’ commitment to pro bono work that 309 law students matched with lawyers on full representation cases through the Challenge,” Stephen R. Senn, the Foundation’s president, said. “Providing students with opportunities to get real world experience and lawyers with opportunities to mentor and support their local legal aid programs strengthens the legal aid system.”

Trophies will be presented to the winners at the Foundation’s 2021 Virtual Award Ceremony on June 17. The Florida Bar Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide greater access to justice. A core part of the Foundation’s mission is to promote public service among lawyers by making it an integral part of the law school experience. By connecting students with alumni to partner on pro bono cases from legal aid organizations, the Foundation increases access to justice and promotes pro bono work.