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Pro Bono: Drake Students Giving Back

Because of Drake University's location in the heart of Des Moines, there are abundant opportunities for students to volunteer their time by providing supervised pro bono legal services.

Identify a program that interests you through CDO's Pro Bono Projects. If you have questions, contact Carole Tillotson

Mark S. Cady Day of Public Service

The Mark S. Cady Day of Public Service (Cady Day of Service) is dedicated to the late Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady. The Cady Day of Service brings the state legal community together to honor and to celebrate the life and legacy of Justice Cady and his commitment to public service, access to justice, and civil rights. Students have the opportunity to participate in free community legal clinics, trainings sessions, and more. Visit the Cady Day of Public Service webpage for more information. 

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)

The VITA program is sponsored by United Way and a number of community partners to help low-income workers prepare their tax filings. Many Drake alumni have volunteered for a number of years for this program. Students are also welcome to participate. Contact if interested.

Spring Break Opportunities

Drake Law has a proud history of seeking and supporting spring break service opportunities for students. In past years, the Law School developed a relationship with The Pro Bono Project in New Orleans.  Students traveled to New Orleans during Spring Break to provide legal assistance to low income New Orleans residents, many still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. 

Drake Law has also partnered with Equal Justice Works to seek out additional spring break opportunities in the future.  If you are interested in participating in a spring break trip, contact Dean Erin Lee Schneider Dean Liz Battles, (515) 271-2948.

Student-sponsored Public Service

Many Law School student organizations engage in public service in addition to philanthropic projects.

  • Halloween Hoops is an annual public service event co-sponsored by the Student Bar Association and the Des Moines NAACP. The event includes a pizza party for 300 community minority youth. In addition to monetary contributions by the SBA and contributions of candy by law students (as part of a Class Amnesty Day program), law students volunteer during the event.
  • Public Interest Law Association members work with volunteer lawyers and faculty on various public service projects including participation in Meals From the Heartland, Reach Out to Dropouts, and the Veterans Stand Down, as well as assisting with the annual Halloween Hoops. PILA also organizes and conducts the annual Court-2-Court 5k run with the proceeds going to fund internships with Iowa Legal Aid.
  • The Student Animal Legal Defense Fund organizes students to volunteer at local animal shelters.
  • La Alianza (formally Hispanic Latino Law Student Association) members take the time to volunteer for the HOLA program, a free legal clinic in Des Moines. Once a month, members offer translation services when the legal clinic is held. 
  • Christian Legal Society coordinates the Winter Warmth Drive in the law school each fall. They collect clothing to help the community stay warm during the winter. They also participate in other service activities including Meals from the Heartland.
  • The Delta Theta Phi legal fraternity provides substantial person-power to Halloween Hoops and has public service programs of its own including semi-annual blood drives and the annual Eat-a-Thon event that raises funds for the Polk County Bar Association's Volunteer Lawyer Project.
  • The American Association for Justice participates in an annual food drive that raises money and food collection for the Bidwell Riverside Center food bank.




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