In November 2017, 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.
Ninety-four 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. The schools represent approximately 53 percent of students in American Bar Association accredited law schools in the class of 2017.
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 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.”
AALS released the report at the AALS Annual Meeting in January.
Law students contributed their hours through a variety of efforts, including externships at legal aid and community organizations, law school clinics, and law student organization-led projects. A complete report on the survey, including examples of specific public service efforts students engaged in and a complete list of schools who participated in the study is available at aals.org/ProBonoSurvey.
Here are just a few ways law schools and their students are improving access to justice in their communities: