College of Law > Academics > Centers, Institutes & Initiatives > Center for Public Interest Law > 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
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
In August 2020, PBCSI held the first virtual 1L Service Day. Read more about it here.
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.
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.
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.
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.