Colorado Law integrates public service and public interest law through the school. Public service is an integral part of a lawyer’s professional obligation and an essential ingredient in a legal career. 

By signing the Colorado Law Public Service Pledge, students commit to at least 50 hours of law-related public service work, not for credit or other compensation, during their time at the Law School. Students who fulfill their pledge will be recognized at graduation, and their public service will be reflected on their transcripts. The graduating 3L who earned and logged the most public service hours will be recognized at the Student Awards Banquet and will have their name added to a plaque. 

Pledge Guidelines

  • When to Sign: We encourage students to sign the Pledge during 1L Orientation, but students can sign the Pledge anytime during law school. 
  • Qualifying Work: To count toward the Pledge, work must be:
    • Completed by a current, enrolled Colorado Law student
    • Uncompensated and uncredited
    • Supervised and law-related
    • This list is not exhaustive. If you have questions about whether your hours qualify towards the Public Service Pledge, please email: probono@colorado.edu
  • Examples of Qualifying work include:
    • Volunteer hours for Colorado Law projects, including: Acequia Assistance Project, Maya Leaders Alliance Project, Korey Wise Innocence Project, and projects through student organizations.
    • Volunteer hours for nonprofit organizations, public interest law firms, local government agencies, public defenders, legal services offices, private firms with pro bono projects.
  • Deadline to Log Hours: Students report hours through CDOnline. Graduating 3L students must submit hours by April 1 for recognition on their transcripts and at graduation. 3L December graduates must submit their hours by November 15 for recognition on their transcripts and at graduation. We encourage students to log public service hours as they are earned throughout their law school career.
  • To log your public service hours:
    1. Go to CDOnline
    2. Once logged into your account, on the left hand column select My Account, then Public Service Pledge. 
    3. If it’s your first time logging into the Public Service Pledge page on CDOnline, select Registration on the topand you should agree/sign the form there
    4. Once you have signed you may enter your hours by clicking “Add New” under the Public Service Hours tab. 
      • If you have previously reported hours at the same agency and you want to add more hours to it, you will press “edit” under the name of the volunteer experience and add the new hours.
      • There is currently a glitch in the CDOnline system that keeps everyone's total hour tally stuck at "0." DON'T WORRY. The system is still tallying the hours you have entered, and you are getting credit for the full amount of hours that you have posted for each project. If you would like to add more hours to an existing project, add the number of new hours to the amount you already have posted so that you get credit for your running total. (For example, if you had 15 hours listed for the Ban the Box Project and wanted to add the 10 more hours you have done since your initial entry, you would replace the 15 with a 25.)

As in all activities, students undertaking the Public Service Pledge are subject to the Honor Code.

Frequently Asked Questions for Current Students

Will students be disqualified from counting their public service hours if they did not first sign the Pledge? 

Students are strongly encouraged to sign the Pledge at Orientation. However, students can do so at any point during their law school career and have the hours count towards the Public Service Pledge as long as the hours are logged by the deadline.   

If students are required to do trainings before beginning their volunteer work, do the training hours count towards the Public Service Pledge hours? 

Yes, as long as the trainings are to prepare students for the law-related pro bono work. 

If a student has already completed the 50 hours to receive the Public Service Pledge Award, is there any reason to keep reporting public service legal hours above and beyond the 50 hours?

Yes! The 50 hours is a suggested minumum number of hours, but students are recognized for the total number of public service hours at the Student Awards Banquet and on their transcript. The Law School has the opportunity to report students’ hours nationally to the American Bar Association (ABA) and to other surveys as a way of showing Colorado Law’s commitment to pro bono. The Law School will be able to more accurately report its numbers if students report their hours accurately. Furthermore, employers look favorably upon students who complete public service hours. 

Does work that students do as volunteer legal interns and externs over the summer count towards their Public Service Pledge hours?

Absolutely! The summer is a great time to do volunteer legal work. As long as students are not being compensated or receiving academic credit, fellowships, scholarships, stipends, or vouchers for their summer work, the hours may be counted. However, if you completed hours above and beyond the hours for which you received academic credit or other compensation, then you may count the additional hours. For example, if a student works for the public defenders office as an extern and receives 3 academic credits (working a total of 150 hours), but actually works 200 total hours, this student may count 50 hours towards their Public Service Pledge hours.

Can students do their public service legal work out-of-state or abroad?

Yes!  

Can clinic hours be used towards Public Service Pledge hours?

No. Since students are already receiving academic credit for their work, and there is no way to quantify the exact number of clinical hours done, we do not allow students to count any of their clinic hours towards the Public Service Pledge program.

Do voluntary hours completed for “for-profit” companies count towards the pledge?

No, hours completed for a for-profit company will not count towards the pledge program even if you worked without compensation. Only legally related hours in the public service or public interest field will count towards the pledge program.