Cooley gives thousands of hours in free legal aid

Thomas M. Cooley Law School's faculty and students have given hundreds of thousands of hours of legal work to various groups and individuals through the school's in-house clinics, students' externships and other pro bono programs run by Cooley faculty members. Cooley faculty and students provided nearly 425,000 hours of free legal assistance in 2011.

"Cooley students are immersed in a hands-on legal education," said Amy Timmer, associate dean of students and professionalism at Cooley. "Through their service in our more than 30 pro bono programs, our students provided free legal assistance to the underserved for no academic credit, and undertook actual legal work under the supervision of attorneys. And in their work in Cooley's legal clinics and externships, Cooley students worked more than 23,000 hours beyond what was required for academic credit. This is a great testament to our faculty and the examples set by them, and to the opportunities that Cooley students receive."

Students engage in clinics and externships in prosecutors' offices, public defenders' offices, judicial, government and various other legal services. Students also participate in some of the nine legal clinics operated by Cooley faculty and several attorneys working pro bono. The clinics include: Sixty Plus Inc., Elderlaw Clinic; Estate Planning Clinic; Cooley's Innocence Project; Family Law Assistance Program; Washtenaw County Public Defender Clinic; Kent County Public Defender Clinic; Public Sector Legal Clinic; Access to Justice Clinic; and Cooley's Immigration Rights and Civil Advocacy Clinic.

The free legal service provided by Cooley students and faculty would have a monetary value of more than $60 million if figured at an average hourly rate of $150.

Published: Tue, Apr 10, 2012


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