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Survey: Class of 2016 gave more than $52M in pro bono legal services

January 4, 2017

Law schools’ classes of 2016 provided pro bono services worth $52.2 million through clinics, experiential courses and other student activities, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Association of American Law Schools.  

The AALS survey conducted in November found 80 law schools reported that 17,899 law students in the Class of 2016 contributed more than 2.2 million hours in legal services as part of their legal education, an average of about 124 hours per student. Indiana University Maurer School of Law and IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law were the only Indiana law schools that participated in the survey.

Independent Sector, a nonprofit organization coalition, estimates the value of volunteer time to be $23.56 an hour. Using this number, the total value of the students' time at these schools is estimated to be in excess of $52.2 million. The schools represent approximately 45 percent of the students in American Bar Association accredited law schools in the Class of 2016.

Several schools indicated that many hours go unreported or are difficult to track, and actual contributions are likely to be significantly higher. The project also did not include hours contributed by students in law school master degree programs.

“Access to justice regardless of means is a guiding principle of the legal profession and legal education,” said Paul Marcus, 2017 AALS president and Haynes Professor of Law at The College of William and Mary Law School. “We are pleased to report these significant contributions by law students toward equal justice for all. Through these important efforts, thousands of clients and communities receive quality legal services while providing students with hands-on educational opportunities to help them become more effective lawyers upon graduation.”

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