Apply to the Pro Bono Scholars Program

Applications will open on April 8, 2024; an email will be sent to all 3L students. The application must be received no later than Friday April 19, 2024 by 5 pm. The program generally accepts up to 12 students.

There will be an information session on April 9, 2023.


Info SessionApril 9, 12-1 pm ET
Application PeriodApril 8 - April 19
Select and Finalize PlacementsMay - August
  • May 2024: Law schools select students for the Program; students will work with the law school faculty member to identify an appropriate placement.
  • September – October 2024: Law school will approve placement and send the application and materials to the PBSP for final acceptance into the Program.
  • October 2024: Final deadline for law student and provider to commit to participate in the PBSP.
  • November 1-30, 2024: Selected students will submit their application to take the February bar exam.
  • February 25-26, 2025: Students will take the bar exam.
  • March -May 24, 2025: Students will work full-time in their pro bono placements.

Peggy Cross-Goldenberg teaches the CLS PBSP. You can reach her at [email protected].

The application consists of a written application and a brief meeting with Peggy Cross-Goldenberg to discuss that application. The written application should be submitted to Professor Cross-Goldenberg via e-mail at [email protected] as one PDF document containing, in this order:

  1. A current resume;
  2. A personal statement of no more than five double-spaced pages that includes discussion of:
    • The applicant’s reasons for wanting to participate in the PBSP, particularly around issues of professional development and identity as well as public service. This should include the applicant’s ideas about what type of externship placement the applicant would like to consider and may include a discussion of specific placements.
    • The applicant’s readiness for the PBSP, with particular attention to previous life and work experiences, law school classes and activities, and other relevant preparation; and,
    • Interest in pursuing a public interest or service career or committing to substantial pro bono service while working in the private sector;
  3. A statement that the applicant (on the attached form found here: 06/PBSP%20Descrip…):
    • Understands that an applicant to Columbia’s PBSP is bound to participate in the program in its entirety, for its full semester duration upon acceptance, and that no withdrawal from the program will be permitted;
    • Has had a conversation with an academic advisor to be assured that the applicant has sufficient experiential credits remaining to fulfill the ABA and Columbia requirements for graduation;
    • Has registered for or has completed the Major Writing requirement;
    • Has met with a staff member in the Financial Aid Office for applicants interested in discussing bar loan options; and
    • Has or will have completed the required Professional Responsibility credits by the end of Fall 2023 semester.
    • A copy of the applicant’s Columbia Law School transcript (unofficial transcript from LawNet is acceptable).

Selection will be based upon each candidate’s:

a. Statement of interest in and learning goals for the externship, including all of the components listed above for the personal statement;

b. Preparation through classes, employment or other activities or experiences for shouldering this significant obligation;

c. Skill set and demonstrated professional responsibility readiness.

Following a review of the application, candidates will be contacted to set up a brief meeting with Peggy Cross- Goldenberg to discuss their application. Applying for the program alone will not guarantee acceptance. If an applicant is not accepted, Director of Externships and Field Placements Liliana Vaamonde will be available to discuss with the applicant recommendations for other experiences for the applicant to pursue during the 3L year.