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Class of 2015 Completes Nearly 11,000 Hours of Pro Bono Work

May 18, 2015 | Students

The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law graduating class of 2015 did more than just attend courses and bury their heads in law books over the last three years. They were out in the community, providing more than 10,000 hours of pro bono services to local, state, and federal agencies; building their legal skills while offering much needed assistance to government and non-profit organizations that they might not otherwise be able to obtain or afford.

More than one-fourth of the class completed at least 50 hours of pro bono work over the course of their academic career. Many completed significantly more than that, with the top student performing 740 hours of pro bono work during her time in law school. In total the class of 2015 completed 10,965 pro bono hours at 47 different groups and agencies at the local, state, and federal levels including institutions such as The Ohio State University Office of Compliance and Integrity, Legal Aid Society of Columbus, United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, Supreme Court of Ohio, Disability Rights Ohio, NAACP, Chicago Legal Assistance Foundation, D.C. Superior Court, and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Students engage in pro bono work for many reasons. Some hope to hone their skills in a real world setting and make contacts with potential employers. Some want to maintain connections to groups they are passionate about helping such as elementary students, immigrants, or indigent people in the community. Still others want to try out a practice area such as prosecution, defense, or work in a court setting. Pro bono work helps students discover what they love to do in the law as well as make connections with people who can mentor and help them as they make future career decisions,” said Cybele Smith, director of public service and public interest programs at the Moritz College of Law.

“Students can earn hours through service with one of our many public service related student groups, through volunteering to do legal and mediation work at a government or non-profit organization, and by staying on at their Washington, D.C., Summer Program or public service externship placements beyond the requirements for course credit.”

The five students with the most volunteer hours in the class of 2015 include Maria Bruno, Justin VanHouten, Michelle Eiler, Christopher Ballard, and David Stouffer who completed 740 hours, 643 hours, 610 hours, 607 hours, and 575 hours of pro bono work respectively.

“We are proud of the work our students do while they attend Moritz and as alumni,” Smith said.

For more information about pro bono service opportunities at Moritz, contact Smith at smith.302@osu.edu, or stop by the Public Service Law Center on the first floor of Drinko Hall.