Survey finds law class of 2022 contributed more than $80M worth of pro bono legal services

The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) again measured law schools’ contribution to the delivery of much-needed legal services through pro bono efforts, legal clinics, and other law-related public service projects by law students.

In November, 80 law schools reported that 16,891 law students in the class of 2022 contributed more than 2,702,124 hours in legal services as part of their legal education, an average of about 160 hours per student. Independent Sector, a nonprofit organization coalition, estimates the value of volunteer time to be $29.95 an hour. Using this number, the total value of the students’ time at these schools is estimated to be in excess of $80,928,000. The schools represent approximately 45 percent of the students in American Bar Association accredited law schools in the class of 2022. AALS made the announcement in advance of its annual meeting taking place in San Diego, California, January 3-7.

Many schools reported that some hours go uncounted or are difficult to track so actual contributions were likely higher. The project also did not include hours contributed by students in law school master’s degree programs such as an LL.M. program.

Law students contributed hours through a variety of efforts, including externships at legal aid and community organizations, law school clinics, and student organization projects. These hands-on or experiential learning opportunities enable students to apply classroom teachings to legal problems under the guidance of lawyers and professors. Through these efforts, students received practical experience in law and communities received critical legal services.

“Law schools and their students play a vital role in strengthening access to justice and providing invaluable services for people and causes that otherwise would go without representation,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, AALS president and dean of University of California, Berkeley School of Law. “AALS is proud to highlight the efforts of the law school class of 2022 and the impact they have on local communities and across the globe.”

The survey, first organized in 2016, was not conducted in 2020 or 2021 due to complications related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Law students contributed hours to?hundreds of efforts?serving thousands of clients, including the following projects and clinics:

• University of Baltimore School of Law – Innocence Project Clinic
• University of California, Berkeley School of Law – Arts and Innovation Representation
• California Western School of Law – New Media Rights
• Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology – Environmental and Energy Law Clinic
• Columbia Law School – Science, Health, and Information Clinic
• Creighton University School of Law – Abrahams Legal Clinic
• Emory University School of Law – Barton Appeal for Youth Clinic
• Harvard Law School – Recording Artists Project
• University of Iowa College of Law – Estate Planning
• University of Louisville, Louis D. Brandeis School of Law – Elder Law Clinic  
• Loyola Law School, Los Angeles – Education Advocacy Clinic
• University of Miami School of Law – Startup Clinic
• University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law – Entrepreneurial Legal Services and Intellectual Property Clinic
• University of Kansas School of Law – Guardianship Clinic
• Mississippi College School of Law – Adoption Legal Clinic
• Northeastern University School of Law – Cradle-to-Prison Pipeline Project  
• Notre Dame Law School – Religious Liberty Clinic
• University of Pittsburgh School of Law – Ukrainian Legal Assistance Project
• Seattle University School of Law – Housing Justice Clinic
• Stetson University College of Law – Veterans Advocacy Clinic
• St. John's University School of Law – Domestic Violence Litigation Clinic
• University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law – Creative Advocacy Lab
• Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law – Interdisciplinary Initiative on Poverty and Inequality
• University of Virginia School of Law – Migrant Farmworker Project
• Western New England University School of Law – Expungement & Record Sealing Event

A full report on the survey is available on the AALS website at