Prerequisites for the Pro Bono Scholars Program

The PBSP externship is limited to students in the second semester of their third year of law school. Admission is by application only.

To participate in the Columbia PBSP in Spring 2022 students must:

  1. Have sufficient experiential credits remaining to fulfill the ABA and Columbia requirements for graduation. At least 64 of the 83 credits required for graduation must represent regularly scheduled class sessions. Clinic credits do not count against the 19-credit cap but externship field credits do. Students who have taken clinics or other externships or received academic credit for supervised research, law review, moot court, or other nonresidential classroom activities should make sure that they will have the necessary credits to graduate if they participate in the PBSP.  Prior to applying, students should review Rule 1.1 of the Columbia Law School Rules for the J.D. Degree and have a phone (or Zoom) meeting with Robert Ford, Director of Student Services.
  2. Have registered for (and preferably completed) the Major Writing requirement. All 3Ls must register for the Major Writing by the close of Add/Drop in their penultimate term; and submit a first draft by February 1 and a final draft by April 1 of their last term. Scholars will have very little time during the PBSP to work on Major Writing. Students are strongly encouraged to complete their Major Writing requirement in the Fall 2021 semester.

  3. Scholars can apply for a bar loan anytime in the first semester of their 3L year, and can use these funds to pay for a bar course and for the bar prep period. Scholars are encouraged to meet with a staff member in the Financial Aid Office to discuss their bar loan options.

  4. Have already completed the required Professional Responsibility credits by the end of the first semester of 3L year. It is necessary to complete the Professional Responsibility credits by the beginning of the PBSP program because the program requirements prevent students from taking any concurrent courses.