San Diego, Calif. (January 3, 2023) – The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) again measured law schools’ contribution to the delivery of much-needed legal services through pro bono efforts, legal clinics, and other law-related public service projects by law students.
In November, 80 law schools reported that 16,891 law students in the class of 2022 contributed more than 2,702,124 hours in legal services as part of their legal education, an average of about 160 hours per student. Independent Sector, a nonprofit organization coalition, estimates the value of volunteer time to be $29.95 an hour. Using this number, the total value of the students’ time at these schools is estimated to be in excess of $80,928,000. The schools represent approximately 45 percent of the students in American Bar Association accredited law schools in the class of 2022. AALS made the announcement in advance of its annual meeting taking place in San Diego, California, January 3-7.
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.
“Law schools and their students play a vital role in strengthening access to justice and providing invaluable services for people and causes that otherwise would go without representation,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, AALS President and Dean of University of California, Berkeley School of Law. “AALS is proud to highlight the efforts of the law school class of 2022 and the impact they have on local communities and across the globe.”
The survey, organized since 2016, was not conducted in 2020 or 2021 due to complications related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 176 law schools and 19 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.