The Law School offers many substantial opportunities for students to engage in law-related public service activities. The opportunities include enrollment in for-credit clinics and field placements in which students provide legal services to persons of limited means and organizations that serve them or otherwise engage in law-related public service. The Law School’s not-for-credit pro bono pledge program, open to J.D. and L.L.M students, provides transcript recognition to students who engage in at least 50 hours of pro bono activities during their time at the Law School. The Public Interest Law Group (PILG) auction every November is a major social event that garners broad, ardent support from the school’s faculty, students and staff and raises substantial funding for students to engage in public interest work. PILG fellowships and William F. Starr Public Sector/Government fellowships are awarded annually to students who obtain summer public interest placements.
Examples of student public service include: representation of asylum seekers fleeing political, religious, or other persecution; representation of children who have been abused or neglected; advocacy for improved healthcare and education for children; assistance to non-profit organizations with transactional legal needs; representation of indigent criminal defendants in the state trial and appellate courts; assistance in the investigation and litigation of civil rights cases in the U.S. Attorney's Office; representation of veterans seeking benefits and status adjustments; conducting mediations of employment discrimination claims pending in the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities; and representation of low income taxpayers before federal and state authorities. Specialized and individual field placements, including the Semester in DC and Semester in NYC Programs, provide myriad other opportunities for students to engage in law-related public service activities with organizations such as Greater Hartford Legal Aid, Connecticut Legal Services, the Connecticut Fair Housing Center, and the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center, federal and state agencies, legislative commissions and committees, and with federal and state judiciary.