UC Hastings Law students have access to a rich array of pro bono opportunities: professional work, such as helping clients through clinics and providing legal counsel at a homeless shelter with the Bar Association of San Francisco, as well as non-legal volunteer services, such as serving food at St. Anthony’s and tutoring local students through Tenderloin community organizations.
UC Hastings recognizes students who made pro bono service a hallmark of their legal education. This year 20 students were honored with awards for Outstanding Achievement in Pro Bono. These JD students provided a minimum of 150 hours of pro bono service over their years at UC Hastings (50 hours for LLM, MSL, and foreign exchange students).
“Each year, Hastings students provide thousands of hours of pro bono service,” said Clinical Professor Brittany Glidden, Director of Externship and Pro Bono Programs. “Their dedication and diligence make a real difference in providing access to justice for many members of our local community.”
Many of these graduates go into public service careers. That’s the case for honoree Caroline Hill ’20, who just took the Colorado Bar and is waiting for her placement with the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender. Hill logged 235 pro bono hours at UC Hastings.
“The highlight of law school for me was getting out of the classroom and working with the kind of clients who led me to apply to law school in the first place,” Hill said.
“I completed the majority of my pro bono hours my 2L year,” she said. “I participated in the Individual Representation Clinic’s Clean Slate program in Fall 2019, but stayed on throughout the rest of the year with my partner as we pursued our client’s case, working 10-15 hours a week on top of a full course load, journal, and student organization commitments. I also volunteered throughout law school with Prisoner Legal Services working with incarcerated people at the San Francisco jails.”
Hill and her partner, Tatiana Herschlikowicz ’20, were able to convince the San Mateo County District Attorney’s office that their client, who had been defending herself from domestic violence, should never have been convicted of assault 10 years ago. “Her attorney blew it. There were Brady violations. The stakes were extraordinarily high. We needed to clear her record so that she could renew her legal status to stay in the country.”
It was the work in the Individual Representation Clinic that set Hill on her current path. Afterward, she participated in the Criminal Practice Clinic, working at the San Francisco Public Defender’s office. “It was so humbling,” she said. “I knew I wanted to be part of that community.”
Herschlikowicz also received the Outstanding Achievement in Pro Bono award. She is taking the Florida bar and will serve as a public defender in Miami.
“Today this work is more important than ever, and our students are answering the call—providing advice and representation to people who are in need of legal assistance during the pandemic, including on issues of housing, employment, and benefits,” Glidden said.