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.
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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 12Twenty. Graduating 3L students must submit hours by April 1 (11:59 p.m. MST) for recognition on their transcripts and at graduation. 3L December graduates must submit their hours by November 15 (11:59 p.m. MST) 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.
Instructions for Logging Your Public Service Hours
- Login to 12Twenty
- Once logged into your account, select "Experiential Learning" from the left-hand menu
- On the Experiential Learning page, select "+ New Experience" in the top right corner
- Complete the fields!
- For "Experiential Learning Type" select "Public Service Pledge Hours"
- The dates for your service project can be approximate
- When it asks you what year in school you were (1L, 2L, 1L - 2L), choose 1L, 2L or 3L if your project took place during the Fall or Spring semester of your 1L, 2L, or 3L year.
- The "1L-2L" and "2L-3L" option should be selected if you completed a project in the summer between two years (i.e, the summer between your 1L and 2L year).
- Select "Save"
- Select "Submit" (you won't be able to log any hours until you press "Submit" this first time)
- Select "Submit" again if you are finished adding hours to that exprience
- If you want to continue adding hours to that exprience, only press "submit" once and that will leave the experience as "in progress."
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 minimum 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 student in the graduating class who earns the most hours will have his/her/their name engraved on a plaque at Colorado Lawl. 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?
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.
Can extra externship hours count towards the Public Service Pledge?
Yes! Any hours you work during your externship above what was required for your credits can count towards the Public Service Pledge. For example, if you enrolled in 2 credits, requiring 100 hours of work, and worked a total of 110 hours, you can apply 10 hours towards the pledge.
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.