2023 AALS Law Student Pro Bono Hours Report

The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) for the sixth year 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 the fall of 2023, 83 law schools reported that 16,559 law students in the graduating class of 2023* contributed 3,289,714.63 hours in legal services as part of their legal education, an average of 198.6 hours per student. Independent Sector, a nonprofit organization coalition, estimates the value of volunteer time to be $31.80 an hour. Using this number, the total value of the students’ time at these schools is estimated to be in excess of $104.6 million. The schools represent approximately 47 percent of students in American Bar Association-accredited law schools in the class of 2023.

In the same survey, 85 schools reported that 50,493 law students in all class years (1L-3L) during the academic year 2022-23 contributed 4,066,690.69 hours in legal services, an average of approximately 80.5 hours per student. Using the Independent Sector value of volunteer time, the value of these services is estimated to be over $129.3 million.

Many schools indicated 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 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.

Law students contributed hours to hundreds of efforts serving thousands of clients, including the following examples:

The following 104 schools contributed information for the survey:

Reports for 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2022 are available on the AALS website. The survey was not conducted in 2020 or 2021 due to complications related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

*Class of 2023 numbers include all three years of law school in a J.D. program.