What happens if I meet my pledge goal?

Students who meet or exceed their Pledge goals will receive an honor cord to be worn at graduation and a certificate signed by the Dean, as well as be announced at their graduation ceremonies. Individual students may also receive special recognition for exceptional service at the annual Public Interest Proud reception in the spring.

What happens if I don’t meet my Pledge goal?

There are no negative consequences for not meeting your Pledge goal.

How many hours do I need to complete the Pledge?

To complete the Georgetown Pro Bono Pledge, you have to complete a certain number of pro bono (law-related) hours. The tables below break down the required hours by category and class year.

Student Status/Total

J.D. – 50
J.D. Transfer – 35
LL.M. – 20

How many hours do I need to complete to receive Special Pro Bono Pledge recognition?

Student Status/Total

J.D. – 100
J.D. Transfer – 50
LL.M. – 35

How many hours do I need to complete to receive Exceptional Pro Bono Pledge recognition?

Student Status/Total

J.D. – 200
J.D. Transfer – 125
LL.M. – 50

What work qualifies as pro bono for purposes of the Georgetown Law Pro Bono Pledge?

Pro bono work must be:

  1. Law-related
  2. Not for credit or compensation, noting that 40 hours of otherwise qualifying summer work can be counted if the student receives Georgetown Law’s Public Service Summer Grant or a similar public service stipend. As explained below, work that is required for a class, journal or clinic does not qualify.
  3. Supervised by a licensed attorney or law faculty member, except in the following circumstances: (a) work is done for a member of Congress or a Congressional committee; (b) work is done for an organization engaged in legislative/policy work – provided the work is still law-related; (c) work is translation done for any law-related pro bono cases (including those from Georgetown Law clinics); (d) work is assistance with a low-income tax clinic under the supervision of a CPA; or (e) work is otherwise approved by the Pro Bono Director.
  4. For a non-profit organization, government agency, or other public interest employer (including employment that qualifies for receipt of the Public Service Summer Grant). In addition, time spent on a pro bono matter (meaning the client is not being charged) at a private law firm is eligible for Pledge recognition, so long as the student is not being paid by the firm.
  5. Done while the student is enrolled in classes at Georgetown Law or a related program (e.g. joint degree, visiting law school). Work done during the summer, when the student is returning to Georgetown the following Fall or Spring semester, may count: See the “Do hours from a summer position count…” question below.

Do hours from a summer position count toward the Pledge?

Students doing summer internships that meet the above criteria (see the “What Work Qualifies as Pro Bono …” FAQ) may count 40 hours of their time at the summer internship toward the Georgetown Law Pro Bono Pledge.

For students earning externship credit over the summer, up to 40 hours performed beyond the terms of the externship may be counted. (Note: During the academic year, all surplus externship hours may be counted.)

Summer work compensated with a salary is not eligible for Pledge recognition; this includes pro bono assignments while a paid summer associate at a law firm.

Pro bono service outside of one’s primary summer placement: Otherwise qualifying pro bono work done over the summer that is separate and distinct from one’s main summer position may be counted in its entirety. So for instance, if a student receiving a Georgetown Public Service Summer Grant for their summer position also volunteers on Saturdays at a legal services intake clinic, that student can submit 40 hours for their primary placement and any additional hours spent on the pro bono endeavor done in their free time.

Do academic year externship, clinic, practicum, class, or journal hours count toward the Pledge?

A key aspect of the Georgetown Pro Bono Pledge is that the work performed be voluntary. Accordingly, pro bono service that is required for a class or journal, done for credit, or for which you receive funding may not count toward the Pledge. Hours worked beyond the required amount, however, may count as described below:

Academic Year Externship

Any academic year externship hours performed beyond the terms of the hours required for credit may be counted.


Hours spent on clinic work while enrolled in the clinic generally do not count toward the Georgetown Law Pro Bono Pledge. But if work on a clinic matter continues beyond the final exam period, the overage hours may be counted if approved by the clinical professor and conveyed to the Pro Bono Coordinator in advance.

Practicum Courses

Work done beyond the required hours for the pass/fail external field placement component of a practicum may be counted toward the Georgetown Pro Bono Pledge. For example, if you are in a practicum course that requires 110 hours of work during the semester and you do 150 hours of work, the 40 hours of extra work may be counted toward the Pledge. Work done for a practicum without a pass/fail external field placement requirement is not eligible.


Hours spent on coursework (unless covered above) are not Georgetown Law Pro Bono Pledge eligible.


Work done for a journal, including for a required community service project, is a requirement of journal membership and is not Georgetown Pro Bono Pledge eligible.

For an exhaustive description of pledge accreditation, see the “What work qualifies as…” question.

Do training time and travel time count toward the Pledge?

Training time for qualifying pro bono work counts. Time spent traveling to or from a volunteer commitment generally does not count. Time spent traveling as a part of a volunteer commitment (such as to and from court, the library, another office, etc.) does count.

Does political campaign work count toward the Pledge?

No. Partisan work on behalf of a political party does not count toward the Georgetown Law Pro Bono Pledge. However, otherwise qualifying volunteer work at a legislator’s office, for a legislative body or committee, or otherwise serving elected officials carrying out their official responsibilities, does count toward the Pledge.

Can I do pro bono work as a first-year student?

Absolutely! While first-year students are still developing their legal skills, there are a variety of law-related tasks for which first-years are well-suited. The project listings in the fall and spring Georgetown Law Pro Bono Project and in Georgetown Gives Back will specify if a given project is restricted to upper class students.

How do I report my pro bono hours?

Pro Bono hours are reported and tracked online through Symplicity. To report hours, you must register for the Pro Bono Pledge. From your profile page, click on the circle in the upper righthand corner of your Symplicity landing page, select “My Account” from the pull-down menu and then click on the “Pro Bono” box.

You should create one record for each organization with which you’re involved, by semester.

  • Click “Add New” to enter hours for a new organization.
  • Select “Pro Bono” from the pull-down and fill out the relevant fields that follow regarding the pro bono term and supervision.
  • Then click the “Add Hours” button. You will be prompted to add date and hours volunteered. If you are reporting hours for the same project all completed in the same semester, you can click the “Save As Draft” button to avoid having to create a new record for that placement each time. You may also record your hours per semester/organization in lump sum, as long as you retain records as to when specifically you did the work. Enter your last day volunteered in the “Hours” table.

I might take the New York bar exam and hear there is a pro bono admission requirement. What can I be doing while in law school to comply?

As proof of completion, applicants will need to file an Affidavit of Compliance for each pro bono activity used to satisfy the 50-hour requirement. Each Affidavit must be certified and signed by the appropriate supervising attorney or faculty member. OPICS strongly recommends that Affidavits be completed immediately after the qualifying pro bono work is done, as tracking down supervisors or required information months or years after the pro bono work has been completed may be difficult. Visit the New York Bar Pro Bono Requirement page for additional information.

How should I list Pro Bono Honors on my resumé?

It’s ultimately up to you! Every resumé is unique, but this is one way we suggest:

  • Georgetown Law Pro Bono Pledge Recognition – Completed over XX hours of pro bono service
  • Georgetown Law Special Pro Bono Pledge Recognition – Completed over XXX hours of pro bono service
  • Georgetown Law Exceptional Pro Bono Pledge Recognition – Completed over XXX hours of pro bono service