Washington, D.C. (January 3, 2018) – The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) again measured how much law schools contribute to the delivery of much-needed legal services through clinics, other experiential courses, and pro bono activities of law students.
In November 2017, 94 law schools reported that 18,411 law students in the class of 2017 contributed more than 3.39 million hours in legal services as part of their legal education, an average of about 184 hours per student. Independent Sector, a nonprofit organization coalition, estimates the value of volunteer time to be $24.14 an hour. Using this number, the total value of the students’ time at these schools is estimated to be in excess of $81.8 million. The schools represent approximately 53 percent of students in American Bar Association accredited law schools in the class of 2017. AALS made the announcement in conjunction with its annual meeting taking place in San Diego, January 3-6.
Many schools indicated that some hours go uncounted or are difficult to track so actual contributions were probably higher. The project also did not include hours contributed by students in law school master’s degree programs such as an LL.M.
Law students contributed hours through a variety of efforts, including externships at legal aid and community organizations, law school clinics, and law student organization led projects. These hands-on or experiential learning opportunities enabled students to apply classroom teachings to legal problems under the supervision of lawyers and professors. Students received practical experience in law and communities received critical legal services.
“The aspiration of ‘equal justice under law’ is one of our country’s greatest values and law students across the nation are working toward this ideal while laying the foundations for success in their future careers,” said Wendy Perdue, 2018 AALS President and Dean of University of Richmond School of Law “These efforts represent some of the ways law schools and students can build bridges with the communities where they live and we are tremendously proud of their efforts.”
Law students contributed hours to hundreds of efforts serving thousands of clients, including the following examples:
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. 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 our many communities–local, national and international.