Pro bono service is the responsibility of all members of the legal profession. Suffolk University Law School’s Pro Bono Program – administered by the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service – allows law students to begin that service now and encourages students to develop a lifelong commitment to pro bono work. By participating in the Pro Bono Program, students have the opportunity to give back to the community by helping underserved clients or groups and participating in work to improve the law, while also gaining practical experience and building a network of professional contacts.
Suffolk Law is committed to the principle that members of the legal community and those aspiring to enter the legal profession have an obligation to assist in providing legal services to persons of limited means, and to individuals, groups or causes that are underrepresented in the legal system. Through our voluntary Pro Bono Program, Suffolk Law seeks to foster in every member of the law school community – including faculty, administrators, staff, and law students – a moral and professional obligation to ensure access to justice for all members of the community. Although law students are not yet members of the legal profession and are therefore not obligated to render pro bono services, we believe that the commitment to serve others should start here. In furtherance of this principle, Suffolk Law challenges all incoming law students to complete at least 50 hours of law-related volunteer work before they graduate. Suffolk Law also encourages faculty, administrators, and staff who are attorneys to participate in annual pro bono activities.
All students are encouraged to participate in the Program, although first year students should be mindful of the time constraints and pressures of the first year of law school. To find out more about how to enroll and participate in the Program and achieve Pro Bono Honors upon graduation, visit our Student Participation page.
Nonprofit legal service providers, government agencies, and community organizations may request student volunteers to provide law-related service. Visit our Supervising Organizations page for more information on how to request a Pro Bono Program student volunteer.
Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project
The Marshall-Brennan Project is a very special part of the Pro Bono Program. Each year, students accepted into the year-long Project have the rare opportunity to study constitutional law and simultaneously teach it to high school students in urban minority population areas.
Students are encouraged to participate in community service work outside the scope of the Pro Bono Program. Each year, Suffolk Law partners with the Citizen Schools' 8th Grade Writing Academy Program. Law students serve as mentors and writing coaches to 8th grade students.
Public Service Award
The Public Service Award is given annually to an attorney who shows extraordinary commitment and service to pro bono work and social justice. Each Spring, a Pro Bono Award Ceremony and Reception is held to honor the recipient and recognize students, supervising attorneys, alumni, and faculty who have participated in the Pro Bono Program.