U-Idaho Law Students and Idaho Law Practitioners Honored for Pro Bono Service

Friday, October 21 2011

Written by Donna Emert

BOISE, Idaho -- The nearly 12,000 hours of pro bono service by University of Idaho College of Law students will be recognized during Idaho Pro Bono Week, Oct. 23-29.

The Idaho Pro Bono Commission will recognize the impacts of the state’s only accredited College of Law, and the broader Idaho State Bar Association pro bono efforts, during the week.

The National Pro Bono Commission recently signed a resolution declaring the weeklong recognition. The Idaho Supreme Court also joined the effort, proclaiming next week Idaho Pro Bono week, in recognition of tens of thousands of hours of legal service provided free of charge by law students and practitioners throughout the state.

The 102 graduates who comprise the Idaho College of Law's class of 2011 donated a total of 11,795 hours of pro bono service over the course of their law degree programs. Thirty-six of those law students earned the Service with Distinction award certificate for serving at least 120 hours and seven students earned the Extraordinary Service award for serving at least 80 hours, but less than 120 hours.

Ruth Coose, a 2011 Idaho law graduate, earned the Above and Beyond award for “epitomizing the spirit and aims of the pro bono program.” Coose gave more than 200 hours of free legal service while pursuing her law degree.

“Even more importantly, her leadership and efforts provided opportunities for dozens of students to serve hundreds of additional hours,” said Trapper Stewart, director of summer externship and mandatory pro bono programs in the University of Idaho College of Law.

The University of Idaho College of Law has a long tradition of service, including pro bono service. In 2006, the completion of 40 hours of pro bono work became a graduation requirement of the college.

"Our students continue to engage in a wide variety of pro bono work, all of which I believe to be consistent with the aims and language of the recent Pro Bono Commission proclamation," said Stewart.

Court Appointed Special Advocate – CASA – programs, citizenship days and wills clinics are major sources of student pro bono hours. Students also give thousands of hours annually through the university’s Alternative Spring Break program.

While clients in greatest need benefit from the time, talents and energies of lawyers and law students providing pro bono aid, law students and law practitioners also benefit from the work, said Stewart:

“Students and practitioners gain valuable legal experience and networking opportunities, and students in particular become practiced in the commitment to pro bono legal service that has long been a hallmark of the legal profession nationwide and in Idaho.”
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About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow to its 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. Learn more: www.uidaho.edu.