Students at the University of Tennessee College of Law demonstrated true Volunteer spirit over the past year, performing more than 10,000 hours of pro bono legal service for charitable and nonprofit organizations.
Members of the college’s UT Pro Bono program performed a total of 10,057 hours of pro bono service during the 2015–2016 academic year. This year marks a new record for the organization, surpassing last year’s record of 8,764 pro bono hours.
Nearly half of the College of Law’s student body participates in UT Pro Bono, with 43 percent consistently serving during both the 2015–2016 and 2014–2015 academic years.
“Our students continue to impress me year after year with their increased dedication to pro bono legal service and helping those in need,” said Brad Morgan, coordinator of UT Pro Bono and the interim director of the college’s Bettye B. Lewis Career Center. “UT Law students are Volunteers in every sense of the word.”
Through their service, UT Pro Bono supported a variety of underrepresented groups, including the homeless, immigrants, children, military veterans, and even animals. Students also offered free income tax assistance to individuals meeting specific criteria.
A number of UT Pro Bono members also dedicated their spring break to providing legal service to a variety of organizations, including Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children of East Tennessee, the disABILITY Resource Center of Knox County, La Paz Chattanooga, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and Vols for Vets.
UT Pro Bono is one of a variety of practical and career training opportunities that the College of Law provides its students. UT Law is home to the nation’s longest-running legal clinic, which allows students to learn by representing clients in need and helping resolve legal disputes under faculty supervision. The college also offers a legal writing program, mentoring connections with alumni, leadership education, and a recently overhauled first-year curriculum that allows students to gain practical experience and prepare for their careers from day one.