Follow our students' good works on the Pro Bono Program's Facebook Page!
Preparing students for leadership in public and community service is an integral part of a CSU Cleveland-Marshall education. Through our Pro Bono Program, students donate more than 11,000 hours a year of volunteer service.
Students work with the Legal Aid Society to assist clients at free legal advice clinics, they help establish juvenile diversion programs at a number of suburban courts, and they serve as coaches and advisors to high school students for the Cleveland Public Schools Mock Trial Competition. Each spring a number of students receive tax preparation training, and are certified by the IRS to prepare tax returns for individuals with low incomes. As part of the Cuyahoga County Earned Income Tax Coalition they helped thousands of persons file their tax returns. Community service also includes building houses with Habitat for Humanity, preparing and serving lunch at a local soup kitchen, or planting a garden in the inner city of Cleveland.
These projects engage students in providing legal assistance to the poor and other under-represented groups, demonstrate the rewards of public service, and develop the habit of rendering pro bono service when students graduate and become lawyers.
Students and faculty are also involved in a revolutionary program run by the Cleveland Bar Association. In this program, teams of lawyers and law students teach civics classes to high school students in Cleveland and East Cleveland Public Schools.
Students who volunteer a minimum of 40 hours a year (in the course of one or more placements) are recognized at the College of Law annual awards ceremony.
Through our clinics, students also represent actual clients who cannot afford private representation, including providing legal advice to neighborhood and community-based non-profit organizations in Cleveland. Through this role, CSU Cleveland-Marshall has played an important part of the comprehensive effort to revitalize the urban core of our region.
Featured projects from the 2015-2016 academic year:
Live Justice Day – At the beginning of each school year, students, faculty and staff participate in a one-day event at one of a number of neighborhood organizations, including the Salvation Army, the 2100 Lakeside Shelter and the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.
Driving Under Suspension Project – A popular project where hundreds of community members receive legal assistance from volunteer lawyers and law students on driving issues including suspended licenses.
Legal Aid Free Advice Clinics – Law students volunteer at weekly Free Advice Clinics sponsored by the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. Taking place in a number of community centers in city neighborhoods, law students address housing issues, family law matters, immigration concerns and employment law.
The Juvenile Court Child Support Project – Law students work with volunteer lawyers and meet with clients bi-weekly to address the child support issues of parents in Cuyahoga County under this new partnership of the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court, Legal Aid and C|M|LAW.
Big Buddies Program with Harbor Light – Law students organize weekly educational and fun activities for families and children living in transitional housing at the Harbor Light Family Shelter.
The Cosgrove Center - Law students are in charge of intake at bi-monthly Legal Assistance Days sponsored by Catholic Charities. Students serve as important resources to low income city residence dealing with legal matters.
Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s 3Rs Program – Law students team-teach the United States Constitution in Cleveland high schools through this award-winning school/court/bar partnership.