AALS Survey: Law Class of 2023 Contributed More Than $104 Million Worth of Pro Bono Legal Services

News Release
Jim Greif
[email protected]
(202) 296-1593

Washington, DC (February 15, 2024) – Through a nationwide survey, 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 law students.

In December, 83 law schools reported that 16,559 law students in the class of 2023 contributed more than 3,289,714 hours in legal services as part of their legal education, an average of about 198 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 the students in American Bar Association accredited law schools in the class of 2023.

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 experiential learning opportunities enable students to apply classroom concepts 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.

“AALS is pleased to present the impact of law student pro bono and clinical legal services on communities in need,” said Melanie D. Wilson, AALS President and Dean and Roy L. Steinheimer, Jr., Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law. “These experiences not only prepare students for their careers but also contribute to improving access to justice across the country. I applaud the class of 2023 for their commitment to service.”

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 AALS
The Association of American Law Schools (AALS), founded in 1900, is a nonprofit association of 176 member 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 improve and advance legal education. AALS carries out its mission by promoting the core values of excellence in teaching and scholarship, academic freedom, and diversity, including diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints, while seeking to foster justice, and to serve our many communities–local, national, and international. In support of its mission, AALS serves as both the institutional membership organization for law schools, and as the learned society for law faculty.