Washington, D.C. (December 17, 2019) – For the fourth consecutive year, the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) measured how much law schools contribute to the delivery of much-needed legal services through clinics, other experiential courses, and pro bono activities of graduating law students.
In November, 105 law schools reported that 19,885 law students in the class of 2019 contributed more than 4.38 million hours in legal services as part of their legal education, an average of about 221 hours per student. Independent Sector, a nonprofit organization coalition, estimates the value of volunteer time to be $25.43 an hour. Using this number, the total value of the students’ time at these schools is estimated to be in excess of $111.5 million. The schools represent more than half of the students in American Bar Association accredited law schools in the class of 2019. AALS made the announcement in advance of its annual meeting taking place in Washington, D.C., January 2-5.
Many schools reported that some hours go uncounted or are difficult to track so actual contributions were likely higher. The project also did not include hours contributed by students in law school master’s degree programs such as an LL.M. program.
Law students contributed hours through a variety of efforts, including externships at legal aid and community organizations, law school clinics, and student organization projects. These hands-on or experiential learning opportunities enable students to apply classroom teachings to legal problems under the guidance of lawyers and professors. Through these efforts, students received practical experience in law and communities received critical legal services.
“Access to justice is a cornerstone of legal education and the legal profession,” said Darby Dickerson, 2020 AALS President and Dean at UIC John Marshall Law School in Chicago. “The pro bono opportunities represented in this project provide valuable and unique experiences for students as they prepare for their careers while helping to meet the legal needs in often-underserved communities across the country. The AALS applauds these graduates for their dedication to serving those in need.”
Law students contributed hours to hundreds of efforts serving thousands of clients, including the following projects and clinics:
A full report on the survey is available on the AALS website.
About the AALS
The Association of American Law Schools (AALS), founded in 1900, is a nonprofit association of 179 law schools and 18 fee-paid law schools. Its members enroll most of the nation’s law students and produce the majority of the country’s lawyers and judges, as well as many of its lawmakers. The mission of AALS is to uphold and advance excellence in legal education. In support of this mission, AALS promotes the core values of excellence in teaching and scholarship, academic freedom, and diversity, including diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints, while seeking to improve the legal profession, to foster justice, and to serve its many communities–local, national and international.