Pro Bono Initiative - What Qualifies


For purposes of the Pro Bono Initiative, qualifying pro bono work is uncompensated work that is law-related and in the public interest, as further defined below:

(a) Work is uncompensated if the student does not receive money, tangible items, or academic credit for the work. 

(b) Work is law-related and in the public interest if it involves the use of legal knowledge or legal analysis to:

(1) protect or advance the rights, interests, or welfare of people of limited means,

(2) protect the civil rights of an individual or nonprofit organization,

(3) assist a nonprofit organization in matters that further the organization’s charitable, religious, civic, community, or educational purposes,  

(4) assist taxpayers in completing federal or state tax returns, through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program,

(5) educate citizens or students (other than law students) on the law or the legal profession, or

(6) assist a federally recognized Indian nation or other Indigenous group in the implementation or development of tribal legal systems and self-governance institutions. 

(c) Pro bono work that involves the activities described in Neb. Ct. R. Prof. Conduct § 3-702 must be performed in compliance with the Nebraska Supreme Court Rules on Senior Law Students – Limited Practice of Law (Neb. Ct. R. Prof. Conduct §§ 3-701 to 3-706).

(d) The following activities do not qualify as pro bono for purposes of this Initiative:

(1) fundraising,

(2) political campaigning,

(3) serving in a non-legal capacity as a member or leader of a charitable, religious, civic, governmental, or educational organization,

(4) working for a private law firm or other for-profit entity (unless working solely on matters that would otherwise qualify as “pro bono”), or

(5) working for a government entity (unless working solely on matters that otherwise qualify as pro bono and for a government unit that lacks sufficient economic resources to pay for equivalent work).  Students are specifically advised that in most cases work for an attorney general’s office, for a public defender, or for a city or county attorney will not qualify as pro bono under this rule.

To ensure pro bono credit will be awarded for the volunteer work performed, students should seek pre-approval from the Dean’s Office prior to commencement of the work.  A student seeking recognition under the Pro Bono Initiative must complete the attached Pro Bono Certification Form and submit it to the Dean’s Office.  A separate form must be used for each pro bono project completed by the student. Time spent in a formal training session may be counted as pro bono work for purposes of the Pro Bono Certificate, but only to the extent that the student completed an equal number of hours of actual pro bono work of the type for which the student was trained.