College of Law

Public Service Commendation Program

In January 2007, Toledo Law launched the Public Service Commendation Program to encourage student engagement in the community. You may earn a Public Service Commendation for each academic term in which you perform 30 or more documented hours of unpaid, law-related, public service work as approved by the college's public service coordinator. Since its inception, program students have donated over 24,500 hours of service.


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 acknowledgment in graduation materials.

How do I find a volunteer position?

Our Office of Professional Development 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. Contact opd@utoledo.edu or 419.530.2851 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
  • Toledo Legal Aid Society
  • And many others…

In addition, you are welcome to secure a placement with other agencies or organizations in the region or across the country, so long as you will be directly supervised by a licensed attorney. The Public Interest Law Association student organization also works with the college to coordinate group volunteer activities for students during the academic year.

Frequently, students who are enrolled in the Public Service Externship or participating in Federal Work-Study will continue to volunteer at their placement after their required/eligible hours are complete.


What do I need to do to receive a commendation?

You are eligible to begin pursuing a commendation after completion of one semester of law studies. Completion of 30 or more documented hours of unpaid, law-related, public service work during a reporting period is required.

You 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.

Due to the COVID-19 situation, students who graduated in spring 2020 and completed 25+ hours of unpaid, law-related, public service work earned a spring 2020 commendation. Continuing students, who worked less than 30 hours, can combine their spring hours with unpaid, law-related, public service work in summer and/or fall 2020 to earn a fall 2020 commendation. All eligible students who completed 30 hours or more of unpaid, law-related, public service work in the spring earned a spring 2020 commendation.

Steps to Earn a Commendation (with links to forms)

  1. Complete the Placement Verification Sheet and return it to the Office of Professional Development
  2. Volunteer and keep track of hours/activities on the Time Sheet(s)
  3. 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 the Office of Professional Development at opd@utoledo.edu or 419.530.2851.

Last Updated: 6/24/20