Villanova Law Dorothy Day Pro Bono Award
The Dorothy Day Award for Pro Bono Service acknowledges students who have volunteered at the inception of their careers to take on the added responsibility of pro bono service by providing direct representation to the poor or disenfranchised.
The award is named for Dorothy Day (1895-1980), a Catholic journalist and peace and justice activist who co-founded the Catholic Worker and established Houses of Hospitality to help feed, clothe, and comfort the poor.
Qualifying Pro Bono Work
For purposes of the Dorothy Day Award, pro bono service is defined as unpaid, not-for-credit legal work for the poor or disenfranchised, performed at a public interest/non-profit agency or with a private attorney working on a pro bono case. This definition is intentionally narrow, as the intent of the award is to recognize students who provide direct legal services to the poor or disenfranchised. Hours must be completed during the academic year, and work for which a student has received academic credit is not considered pro bono for the purposes of the award.
Work completed on behalf of the following organizations qualifies towards the Dorothy Day Award: Face to Face Legal Clinic, PA Innocence Project, STAR Federal Prisoner Reentry Project, VITA, Federal Defender’s Capital Habeas Unit, Senior Law Center, Pennsylvania Volunteers for the Indigent Program, Support Center for Child Advocates, Wills for Heroes, Medical-Legal-Community Partnership (MLCP), Homeless Advocacy Project, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and Villanova Law-sponsored pro bono service spring break trips. This is not an exhaustive list; work performed on behalf of other organizations that provide direct legal services to the poor or disenfranchised is also eligible for credit, provided all award criteria is met.
Please Note: Work at most government agencies and offices (including District Attorney and Attorney General offices) typically does NOT qualify toward the Dorothy Day Award. In addition, participation in the following activities does not qualify: Street Law, VLS Days of Service (unless legal work is completed on behalf of the poor or disenfranchised), tutoring, and coaching and/or judging mock trial competitions.
Please contact Sharon Buckingham at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any question as to whether your project qualifies.
To be eligible for the award, students must have completed 60 hours of pro bono service during their three years of law school (not including summers).
Reporting Pro Bono Hours
To report pro bono hours, students must complete and submit the applicable form(s) for each pro bono project (see links below) with the signature of the supervising attorney, no later than the end of the academic year during which the work was completed. During 3L spring semester, all hours must be submitted prior to March 31. Note: for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, in cases where student hours are not directly supervised by an attorney or faculty member, students are still required to submit the applicable form(s), signed by the student organizer/officer of the Pro Bono Society who can verify the hours. Also, students may submit a signed NY Affidavit of Compliance in place of the VLS pro bono reporting form, if the hours reflect work that satisfies the definition of pro bono indicated above.
2016-2017 Pro Bono Hours Form
2017-2018 Pro Bono Hours Form
2018-2019 Pro Bono Hours Form