The pro bono program at the USD Knudson School of Law reflects our commitment to shaping attorneys who appreciate the value of providing legal services to individuals and communities who are in substantial need of assistance, but have limited resources for acquiring it. The experiential learning program is a key component of the educational and professional development experiences at the law school.
The Director of Experiential Learning oversees the Pro Bono Program at the University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law. Students who perform pro bono work often find opportunities through the Law School Career Services Office, and through independent contacts and Bar-supported Pro-Bono programs. Individuals who complete a minimum of 50 pro bono hours by graduation, as approved by the Director of Experiential Learning, will be recognized as recipients of the Access to Justice award during the ceremony. In addition to independent opportunities for arranging pro bono service, students may also participate in several structured pro bono opportunities that are coordinated by the Knudson School of Law.
Equal Justice Works
The School of Law is a member of Equal Justice Works, formerly the National Association of Public Interest Law. Through its membership, you are eligible for summer internships and fellowships upon graduation from law school. Several opportunities exist in South Dakota on the Indian reservations and elsewhere in the U.S.
R.D. Hurd Volunteer Law School Society
The R.D. Hurd Volunteer Law School Society is a program that is designed to give law students an opportunity to provide pro bono legal services to low-income clients in South Dakota. Students for the program are chosen to work under the supervision of licensed attorneys at East River Legal Services, where they will learn a variety of skills to help them in their legal careers.
Students may conduct client interviews, draft pleadings, do legal research, make client phone calls and file case filings for the law office. Third-year law students are even given the chance to make court appearances. R.D. Hurd works in various areas of law, including housing, will drafting, divorce, child custody, protection orders and abuse and neglect. All the work that students do is to aid low-income clients for pro bono cases.
Veterans Legal Education Group
The Veterans Legal Education Group promotes pro bono involvement at the law school and provides service to veterans of the U.S. military.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
Law students in VITA prepare income taxes for students and low-income people at no charge.