Public Interest Center staff can assist you in finding public interest opportunities, will track any hours you accrue, and will honor such work at its annual Public Interest Awards ceremony in the spring. Those who complete at least 50 hours of volunteer service during their time at Chicago-Kent receive a Certificate of Service; those who complete at least 250 hours receive the Dean’s Distinguished Public Service Award; and those who complete at least 400 hours receive the Dean's Exemplary Public Service Award. In addition, one graduating student with the most volunteer service receives the Pro Bono Leader Award.
To be eligible to receive these awards, you must take the following three steps:
- Take the Pro Bono Pledge in 12twenty, and we will send volunteer opportunities to you. To take the Pledge: in your 12twenty profile, click on the check box next to the Pro Bono Pledge. In taking the Pledge, you express your intent to complete 50 hours of service during law school.
- You can find opportunities in 12twenty, Chicago-Kent’s extensive database of job, internship, and pro bono opportunities. In the OCI and Job Listings tab filter by Type of Job: Pro Bono Limited Time Commitment. You cannot be engaged in for-profit, private sector activities.
- Pro bono and community service opportunities are included in the Public Interest Center newsletter, sent out to students several times a month.
- PIC staff can also assist you in your search.
Volunteer hours and activities must meet the criteria below in order to count towards these awards:
- You cannot be receiving any financial compensation or school credit.
- You cannot be engaged in for-profit, private sector activities.
- You cannot be engaged in partisan, political campaign activities.
- Training time required for volunteering may be included in your hours.
- Hours accrue between your first day of orientation as a first-year law student and the deadline date for submitting hours prior to the Public Interest Award ceremony in the spring semester, dates inclusive.
- Generally, time spent on Chicago-Kent student organization activities, for example, preparing for speaker events or bake sales, does NOT qualify. However, volunteering with outside organizations in conjunction with a student organization does qualify, for example, volunteering at the Daley Center Self-Help Resource Center, at a food pantry as a Kent Justice Foundation (KJF) project, or legal observing through the National Lawyers' Guild (NLG).
If you are uncertain whether your particular volunteer work qualifies, please email us for clarification.
- Submit your volunteer hours
- First, login to 12twenty where you can find jobs, pro bono opportunities, and other resources!
- Second, go to the Pro Bono and Comm. Service Tab
- Third, click the blue "new experience” button in the top right
- Fourth, fill out the information on the place and term. Add in the information to the best of your ability, including the job description and supervisor contact information.
- Fifth, submit so that the opportunity is "in progress"
- Sixth, go to the hour log, click "add hours" on the top right, fill out the form
- Seventh, hit submit if you do not plan on volunteering there again, this will finalize and complete the entry. DO NOT HIT SUBMIT IF PLANNING TO RETURN FOR MORE HOURS.
- Eighth, In the future, when returning to the same organization, select it in order to log additional hours.
- In addition, there is a tutorial in 12twenty in the Resource Library, Pro Bono Information Folder