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American Bar Association
Directory of Law School Public Interest and Pro Bono Programs

Howard University School of Law

Howard University
Howard University School of Law
2900 Van Ness Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
www.law.howard.edu

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Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Claire Raj, Esq.
Equal Justice Program Coordinator
Howard University School of Law
2900 Van Ness St., NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 806-8119
(202) 806-8436 (f)
craj@law.howard.edu

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Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by a Referral System with Coordinator

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Description of Program

Howard University School of Law has a proud legacy of championing civil rights and social justice causes. The Pro Bono Honors Pledge Program furthers this legacy by encouraging HUSL students to engage in voluntary, uncompensated work on behalf of low-income and underrepresented populations. The program is also designed to encourage students to begin a life-long commitment of service for the public good.

Through the program, students pledge to complete a minimum of 50 hours of pro bono and community service projects at organizations working on behalf of low-income and underrepresented populations during their 3 years of law school. Students may complete up to 25 of their 50 hours in non-legal community service work; however, the remainder of their hours must be completed with an organization engaged primarily in law-related or legal work.

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Location of Program

The Pro Bono Honors Pledge Program is coordinated through the Equal Justice Program housed in the Clinical Law Center.

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Staffing/Management/Oversight

Equal Justice Program is staffed by a public interest attorney coordinator. Students assist in the operation of aspects of the program, serving as student coordinators of the various projects.

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Funding

EJP is funded through the Clinical Law Center budget as well as the Law School’s budget. There is no separate budget for the program.

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Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Alternative Spring Break: A hallmark of student pro bono service at HUSL is the Alternative Spring Break Program (ASB). Beginning in 2006, Howard law students began organizing a trip to New Orleans to lend their hands in the clean-up effort surrounding the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. In the 6 years since the storm, the ASB program has continued to send groups of more than 50 law student volunteers to New Orleans each spring to partner with legal services organizations, such as the New Orleans Public Defender and Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, who are leaders in the fight for social justice.

East of the River Youth Court Pro Bono Project: This student run initiative coordinates with a local diversion court to staff Saturday court sessions with volunteer law students. Law students serve as judges, jury coordinators, and case processors. They also mentor the high school students who serve as volunteer jurors and the defendants.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA): The law schools has partnered with the business school to run a tax assistance center through VITA at Howard’s GADGET Center. Volunteer law students assist with tax returns as well as financial literacy.

DC Employment Justice Center: Law student volunteers assist at the Workers Rights Clinic and help with all areas of employment law, including: unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, family and medical leave act (FMLA) violations, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, unlawful discrimination and harassment, and wrongful termination.

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Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Faculty and staff members are always encouraged to engage in law-related pro bono service; however, there is no formal requirement that they do so.

Faculty members serve as advisors to student organizations, many of whom engage in pro bono projects.

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Awards/Recognition

Students who complete the Pro Bono Honors Pledge receive a certificate of achievement at the graduation ceremony.

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Community Service

Most HUSL student organizations have a community service chair and encourage members to engage in volunteer work. Examples range from mentoring programs to food drives to clean up efforts at local parks and public schools.

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Law School Public Interest Programs

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Contact Information

Claire Raj, Esq.
Equal Justice Program Coordinator
Howard University School of Law
2900 Van Ness St., NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 806-8119
(202) 806-8436 (f)
craj@law.howard.edu

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Certificate/Curriculum Programs

Family Law Certificate Program

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Public Interest Centers

The Equal Justice Program oversees the law school’s public interest programs and provides opportunities for students to engage in practical experience through volunteer legal and community services experiences.

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Public Interest Clinics

All of Howard’s clinics are public interest in nature. Students participating in these clinics take on community outreach projects as part of their clinical experience. Howard offers the following clinics: Criminal Justice, Fair Housing, Civil Rights, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Investor Justice & Education, and Intellectual Property & Trademark.

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Externships/Internships

Howard offers a General Externship Seminar, where students can participate in an externship for credit at any non-profit organization or government agency (including judicial externships). We also offer specialized externships as follows: IRS, SEC, and Environmental Externship.

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Classes with a Public Service Component

Many of Howard’s courses have a public interest component and several are wholly public interest in nature. These courses include, but are not limited to: Social Justice Lawyering, Civil Rights Planning, Public Interest Lawyering (externship seminar), Education Law, Child Welfare and the State, Domestic Violence, Clean Air & Global Climate Change, Race Law & Change, and Environmental Justice.

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Public Interest Journals

Human Rights & Globalization Law Review

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Public Interest Career Assistance

The Coordinator of the Equal Justice Program serves as a public interest counselor for the law students. In addition, the Career Services Office offers a several services for students interested in public interest including a mock interview program, resume and cover letter reviews, as well as career counseling.

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Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

Howard does not currently have an LRAP.

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Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

None

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

The law school has several alumni who have successfully secured post-graduate public interest fellowships including the Skadden and Equal Justice Works fellowships.

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Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

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Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

The law school funds 3-5 Dean’s Public Interest fellowships and supports general funding for summer fellowships at varying levels each year.

Graduate Student Funded:

The Howard Public Interest Law Society (HPILS) coordinates an annual Public Interest Benefit Auction which raises money to support summer public interest fellowships. The number of fellowships varies in any given year.

Other Funding Sources:

Crowell & Moring Summer Public Interest Fellowship
Patton Boggs Public Policy Fellowship
Howrey HELPS Summer Fellowships
Equal Justice America Summer Fellowship
Justice John Paul Stevens Fellowship

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Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

The Equal Justice Program works with the Office of Career Services to sponsor several public interest focused programs each semester. Some highlights include: An Introduction to Public Interest Practice, Lunch with a Lawyer Series, Public Defender Panel, Civil Legal Services, Post-graduate Fellowship Workshop, and Managing Your Debt with a Public Interest Career. EJP also co-sponsors several programs with student groups each semester and helps to publicize local public interest career fairs, conferences, and other relevant events.

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Student Public Interest Groups

ACLU
American Constitution Society
Barrister
Christian Legal Society
Criminal Justice Society
Education Law Students Association
Family Law Society br /> Howard Energy & Environmental Law Society br /> Howard Public Interest Law Society br /> OUTLAW br /> Women’s Law Student Association

Updated: 6/28/2012

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