Criteria for Graduation Recognition
Graduation Recognition on the Delaware Campus: Pro Bono Distinction

word icon Download the PIRC student log form

Widener Law encourages students to help increase access to justice by performing pro bono service. Lawyers in the United States are recommended under American Bar Association’s (ABA Model Rule 6.1 Voluntary Pro Bono Service) ethical rules to contribute at least fifty hours of pro bono service per year. Pro Bono is a Latin phrase for professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment or at a reduced fee as a public service. pro bono service, unlike traditional volunteerism, uses the specific skills of attorneys to provide legal services to those who are unable to afford them.

Widener Law recognizes students who perform a significant amount of volunteer legal work with pro bono distinction at graduation. Students who have performed at least 60 hours of pro bono legal service during law school, under the supervision of a licensed attorney, are eligible for recognition if the following criteria are satisfied:

  1. Service must be completely pro bono; students may receive neither money nor academic credit for this work. Students who are paid or receive academic credit for some of their work, but who exceeded the number of hours of  work for which they were paid or awarded credit, may be recognized for the uncompensated hours if their supervisors verify that this time was uncompensated. For clinic students, this determination is completely at the discretion of the clinic professor.
  2. Service must be to a public interest agency or office approved by PIRC. A variety of agencies may qualify. Judicial clerkships do not qualify. Students must call, email, or see PIRC Director Sydney Howe-Barksdale to determine if their work is eligible.
  3. For each graduating class, eligible volunteer work may begin in the second semester of the first year of law school.
  4. Volunteer hours must be documented on a PIRC student log form (download link at top of page) and verified by a supervisor. Forms are also available in the PIRC Office (L254 and L282); or from the PIRC TWEN Page.

Students who graduate with pro bono distinction will have their names noted in the graduation program book and will wear honorary red cords over their graduation gowns. Students who meet all of the requirements will be notified by PIRC that they have qualified for graduation recognition. Cords will be distributed to students by the PIRC staff.

For more information, contact PIRC Director Sydney Howe-Barksdale.