Two female law students talking

Pro Bono Program

Service is integral to Duquesne Law’s mission and reflected in the words of the school seal, "Salus Populi Suprema Lex," or, the welfare of the people is the highest law.  Faculty, staff, alumni, and students here have a deep tradition of serving the community and helping those in need. 

The Pro Bono Program provides a structure through which students can serve the public interest while developing critical professional skills under the supervision of licensed attorneys. 

Recognition

Students who meet the non-mandatory 50-hour requirement will receive a Pro Bono Service Recognition Certificate. Students dedicated to further service will be honored based upon the total number of hours completed. Those completing 61-120 hours will receive a Pro Bono Service Honors Certificate and 120+ will receive a Pro Bono Exemplary Service Certificate

Opportunities

Pro Bono work may be done in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Erie, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties, to name a few.  In addition to these locations, individuals can seek approval and certification of hours worked on pro bono projects arranged by the student, subject to review by the Clinical Legal Education staff. Several of the organizations and programs partnering with Duquesne Law through the Pro Bono Program include:

Pro Bono Assistance for Final PFA Hearings-Seeking Volunteers THIS SUMMER 2020

The Pro Bono Center seeks volunteer law students and 2020 law school graduates from Pitt and Duquesne to help attorneys as they prepare to resolve final Petitions for Protection from Abuse in Allegheny County Family Court. When the Family Court resumes hearing final PFA cases--probably in June-both newly filed and rescheduled cases will be heard. Neighborhood Legal Services anticipates that a higher than normal number of cases will be heard each day. Volunteer attorneys will be assigned to attempt to resolve cases in advance of a hearing before a judge. The goal of this project is to facilitate that process for volunteer attorneys in hopes that they will be willing and able to handle a higher volume of cases.

Overview: Volunteer law students and graduates will retrieve and analyze the family and criminal court dockets of both plaintiffs and defendants, then provide this information to the volunteer attorney handling the case. This project is entirely virtual, so a volunteer may participate even if not currently located in the Pittsburgh area. All of the information necessary to perform this work is available online, and the volunteer can email the analysis to the attorney.

Training: A volunteer training will be held via Zoom on Thursday, June 4, 2:00-3:00 p.m. Susan Abramowich from Neighborhood Legal Services will talk about PFA law and process, and Barbara Griffin, Director of the Pro Bono Center, will demonstrate how to retrieve the court dockets and prepare the information for the attorney. Click here to register for the training: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUrf-utrjMsGtcYJ1QrFJIrG9zIif1IsSTZ.

Please also email Professor Grace Orsatti (orsattig@duq.edu) and Maria Comas (comas@duq.edu) if you register for the training. We'd like to know who is volunteering, and Prof. Orsatti will send you a pro bono timesheet so you can track your hours.

Prerequisite: Volunteers must prepare for the training by watching "Pennsylvania Protections Acts: What you need to Know," https://www.pccd.pa.gov/Pages/WebEx-Recordings.aspx/. It is about 1½ hours long.

Contact Barbara Griffin at bgriffin@acba.org if you have any questions.

Allegheny County Bar Foundation & Pittsburgh Pro Bono Partnership Projects

  • Christian Legal Aid
  • Custody Conciliation Project
  • Expungement Project
  • Landlord Tenant Project
  • Protection from Abuse (PFA) Project
  • Unaccompanied Minors / Immigration Project
  • Wills Project 

Legal Service Organizations

  • Allegheny County Office of Public Defender
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • Community Justice Project
  • Education Law Center
  • Disability Rights Network
  • Westmoreland County Pro Bono Center 

Pro Bono Program Handbook & Timesheet

More information can be found on the Handbooks and Forms page.

Questions? 

Email S. Beth Licciardello or lawclinic@duq.edu

 

Disclaimer: The Law School's students cannot perform legal work or give advice directly to members of the public or clients. Duquesne Law students may only work under the supervision of a licensed attorney or at an organization with a supervising attorney approved by the Pro Bono Program.