DePaul University College of Law > Student Resources > Student Activities > Pro Bono & Community Service > Programs

Pro Bono & Community Service Initiative Programs

The Pro Bono & Community Service Initiative ("PBCSI") facilitates and encourages student volunteerism and works directly with students to help them find a volunteer site that fits their schedules and interests. Students have a wide range of options when it comes to volunteering. They can volunteer with one of PBCSI's seven partners or any other non-profit organization whose mission is to assist disadvantaged individuals or groups. This includes both legal and non-legal sites. Additionally, PBCSI offers six Donate-A-Day service events a year. Students who complete and report at least 50 hours of service during their time at DePaul are eligible for a service award.

1L Service Day

The 1L Service Day takes place directly after orientation and gives incoming students a chance to hit the ground running when it comes to service at DePaul. It is also a great way for students to socialize and relax before the start of the semester. Students work in groups at a range of community sites throughout the city, which have included schools, parks, homeless shelters and senior centers. Law faculty and staff and second- and third-year students also participate as site leaders.

Donate-A-Day Events

PBCSI proudly sponsors at least six annual Donate-A-Day projects. Typically held on Saturdays, these projects provide meaningful legal and non-legal service opportunities for students whose schedules do not permit an extended volunteer commitment or who want to supplement their ongoing volunteer work. Donate-A-Day events incorporate time for education about the needs of the community and for reflection on the meaning and impact of service work.

Neighborhood Legal Assistance Project

As its name suggests, PBCSIs newest pro bono project aims to meet some of the most pressing legal needs of our neighbors in the South Loop. The Neighborhood Legal Assistance Project (NLAP) operates twice a month at a free breakfast for the homeless hosted by the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple. With the assistance of a supervising attorney, trained law student volunteers work directly with homeless clients to assist them with sealing and expunging their criminal records and obtaining state identification cards. NLAP volunteers also provide legal information on a range of other issues, including public benefits, housing and family law, and wage theft.

Service Immersion Trips with the College of Law

DePaul College of Law offers service immersion trips to Washington D.C. and New Orleans during the last week of winter break. Service immersion trips provide law students unique and inexpensive opportunities to work, live and build relationships with other law students, while learning about social justice issues in two fascinating American cities. Volunteering with community agencies that serve low-income people, rebuilding homes and meeting with local leaders are just a few of the activities that are offered during a service immersion trip. University Ministry in the Loop organizes these trips.

Pro Bono Spring Break of Service

The Pro Bono Spring Break of Service gives DePaul law students the chance to help low-income clients while gaining valuable hands-on legal experience at a variety of local public service organizations during spring break. Projects have included volunteering at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, writing a clemency petition, preparing advanced directives for seniors, conducting legal research, and assisting on domestic violence cases. This is a great opportunity for students to make contacts in Chicago’s legal aid community. ​