Pro Bono Distinction

As part of Gonzaga University School of Law’s ongoing commitment to public and pro bono service, students who complete and report significant pro bono service hours are recognized with the honor of Pro Bono Distinction. Pro Bono Distinction is awarded to enrolled students who provide law-related assistance for which they do not receive academic credit or pay. For additional information about the Pro Bono Distinction program, please see Gonzaga University School of Law’s Academic Rule 7-7 in the Student Handbook.

Download the Pro Bono Distinction Form to record pro bono service hours.

Requirements of the Pro Bono Distinction

Gonzaga University School of Law will confer Pro Bono Distinction for enrolled students who perform and report 30 hours of pro bono service during either their first and second terms, their third and fourth terms, or their fifth and sixth terms. Students may earn progressive levels of Pro Bono Distinction for the total number of pro bono service hours completed and reported during their time at Gonzaga Law. For the purpose of Pro Bono Distinction, all pro bono service hours must be law-related, supervised by an attorney, and comport with Gonzaga University School of Law’s Academic Rule 7-7 (C).

For all students, public service hours completed reported for Gonzaga University School of Law’s public service graduation requirement under Academic Rule 2-7 may not also be counted toward Pro Bono Distinction.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I earn Pro Bono Distinction?

Gonzaga University School of Law will confer Pro Bono Distinction for students who perform 30 hours of pro bono service during either their first and second terms, third and fourth terms, or fifth and sixth terms.

Students may also earn the following levels of Pro Bono Distinction:

  1. First Level: Earned Pro Bono Distinction at least twice and performed 100 - 199 pro bono service hours during law school.
  2. Second Level: Earned Pro Bono Distinction at least twice and performed 200 - 299 pro bono service hours during law school.
  3. Top Level: Earned Pro Bono Distinction at least twice and performed 300 or more pro bono service hours during law school.
  4. Dean’s Pro Bono Award of Distinction: Earned Pro Bono Distinction at least twice and accrued the highest number of pro bono hours in his or her graduating class.

What kind of service work qualifies as pro bono?

Gonzaga University School of Law defines pro bono service as providing law-related services under the direct supervision of an attorney for which a student does not receive academic credit or pay, including work study, grant, fellowship or scholarship money to:

  • Non-profit organizations or government entities
  • Lawyers or law firms providing services that comport with Rule 6.1 of the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Gonzaga’s Moderate Means Program
  • Gonzaga’s University Legal Assistance clinic in excess of hours required for credit
  • Externship placements at non-profit or government entities, in excess of hours required for credit

Please contact the Center for Law in Public Service for assistance to identify pro bono opportunities.

Can I count hours that I perform for Gonzaga’s Public Service graduation requirement toward Pro Bono Distinction?

Service hours completed and reported for the public service graduation requirement under Academic Rule 2-7 may not be counted toward Pro Bono Distinction.

How will I be recognized for earning Pro Bono Distinction?

Students who earn Pro Bono Distinction will receive a certificate of recognition signed by the Dean of the Law School and the Assistant Director of the Center for Law in Public Service. The Registrar will place a notation on the student’s transcript indicating for which two-term period(s) the student earned Pro Bono Distinction. Graduating students who earn Pro Bono Distinction and who submit hours by March 15 will be recognized in the Law Commencement ceremony in May. The graduating student who earns the Dean’s Pro Bono Award of Distinction will receive an award during the Law Commencement ceremony in May.

How do I track and report Pro Bono Distinction hours?

Fill out the GPSR PBD Completion Form and turn it into the Registrar’s Office or the Center for Law in Public Service. Please make a copy for your records prior to turning in the original.

Can I split hours from a single service project between the Graduation Public Service Requirement and the Pro Bono Distinction requirement, using the same form?

Yes, the form allows you to allocate hours from one volunteer experience to both the graduation requirement and the pro bono distinction requirement.

What are the deadlines for completing and submitting Pro Bono Distinction hours?

All hours must be completed and submitted by the deadlines below. Any hours completed after the deadline for the relevant terms can be counted toward the next term (except for your graduating term). If you miss the deadline for hours that you completed before the deadline, those hours cannot count toward the next term.

Traditional Student PBD Deadlines:

  1. First and Second Terms (Fall and Spring Semesters of 1L year): Deadline is last day of spring classes.
  2. Third and Fourth Terms (post-1L Summer, Fall and Spring Semesters of 2L year): Deadline is last day of spring classes.
  3. Fifth and Sixth Terms (post-2L Summer, Fall and Spring Semesters of 3L year): Deadline is March 15.

Accelerated Student PBD Deadlines:

  1. First and Second Terms (Summer and Fall Semesters of first year): Deadline is last day of fall classes.
  2. Third and Fourth Terms (first Spring and second Summer Semesters): Deadline is last day of summer classes.
  3. Fifth and Sixth Terms (Fall and Spring Semesters of final year): Deadline is March 15.

Graduating students must submit Pro Bono hours by March 15 in order to be recognized at May commencement.

Who can I contact with additional questions about Pro Bono Distinction?

Please contact CLIPS Assistant Director, Julie Schaffer, (509) 313-3688.