Public Service Commendation Program
In January 2007, the College of Law launched the Public Service Commendation Program to encourage student engagement in the community. A student may earn a Public Service Commendation for each semester in which he or she performs 30 or more documented hours of unpaid law-related public service work as approved by the College of Law Public Service Coordinator.
Why pursue a Commendation?
- Volunteering provides needed legal services to underserved members of our community.
- It’s a great way to gain legal experience!
- It’s an opportunity to make connections in the legal profession by engaging with lawyers,
judges, and legislators.
- By listing the Commendation and volunteer work on your resume, you are able to show
prospective employers the skills and experience you have gained.
- You will receive a certificate and acknowledgement in graduation materials.
How do I find a volunteer position?
The College of Law will help students find volunteer opportunities with public service agencies and other non-profit organizations engaged in pro bono work. Our Public Service Coordinator works with community stakeholders to coordinate placements and arrange for supervising attorneys to certify qualifying hours for participating students. Please contact Kelly.Tomlinson@utoledo.edu or 419.530.4996 for further information and to get involved in the program.
Students commonly volunteer with area legal organizations, such as:
- The Toledo Bar Association Pro Bono Legal Services Program
- Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE)
- Legal Aid of Western Ohio (LAWO)
- The Toledo Prosecutor’s Office
- The Toledo Public Defender’s Office
- And many others…
In addition, students are welcome to secure a placement with other agencies or organizations in the region or across the country, so long as the student will be directly supervised by a licensed attorney. The Public Interest Law Association (PILA) student organization also works with the College of Law to help coordinate group volunteer activities for students during the academic year.
Frequently, students who are enrolled in the Public Service Externship Clinic or participating in Work-Study will continue to volunteer at their placement after their required/eligible hours are complete.
Please explore our list of Pro Bono Opportunities.
What do I need to do to receive a Commendation?
Students are eligible to begin pursuing a Commendation during the summer following their first year of law studies. Completion of 30 or more documented hours of unpaid law-related public service work during a semester is required.
Students may pursue two commendations each year, a fall Commendation and a spring Commendation. Work performed over the summer will be credited toward earning the Commendation in the subsequent fall semester. Work performed over the winter break will be credited toward earning the Commendation in the spring semester.
Steps to Earn a Commendation (with links to forms)
- Complete the Placement Verification Sheet and return it to the Office of Professional Development
- Volunteer and keep track of hours/activities on the Time Sheet(s)
- Complete and return the following required forms to the Office of Professional Development**
**The deadline for turning in your Time Sheet(s) and Supervisor Evaluation of Student form in the fall is the Friday before final examinations. The deadline during spring semester is the Friday of the first week in April.
** Students are not able to log hours toward the Public Service Commendation at the same time as they are logging hours for the Public Service Externship Clinic (PSEC), Federal Work-Study (FWS), or Public Service Fellowships. However, upon completion of their PSEC, FWS, or Public Service Fellowship commitment, students may log hours toward the Public Service Commendation.
If you have questions or need assistance finding a volunteer opportunity, please contact Kelly Tomlinson, Public Service Coordinator, at Kelly.Tomlinson@utoledo.edu or 419.530.4996.