More than 26,500 pro bono hours by law’s 2014 class

May 6, 2014 8:45 AM

Linda P. Campbell

Commencement Bar 2014

Tyler Whittenberg’s pro bono work helping juveniles with disciplinary problems stay in school has led to a job as a special projects attorney with the Youth Law Center in San Francisco after his May graduation from Tulane Law School.

Julie Jackson with student TylerWhittenberg

Julie Jackson, assistant dean, Tulane Law School, presents a certificate to Tyler Whittenberg at a luncheon honoring pro bono work conducted by law students. (Photo by Linda P. Campbell)

Emma Sholl’s volunteer work for legal services and nonprofit agencies convinced her to pursue a career in public interest law. And Kyle Curson’s experience on the prosecution side in a Navy JAG office helped prepare him for work the following year as a law clerk for the Orleans Public Defenders.

They exemplify students who’ve devoted hundreds of hours to pro bono work: The graduating class of 2014 reported more than 26,500 hours during law school, and 192 third-year students — or more than 80 percent of the class — have exceeded the 30 hours required for graduation, according to Eileen Ryan, public interest program coordinator.

In 1988, Tulane became the first U.S. law school to make pro bono work, through which students aid their community by volunteering legal services for indigent clients, an essential part of the curriculum.

During the 2013-14 academic year, 115 students from among all classes provided 60 or more pro bono hours.

Whittenberg and third-year law student Khalid Samarrae took leadership roles in Stand Up for Each Other, a student-led group that represents youths who have been suspended or expelled from New Orleans public schools. For their work, they’re receiving the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Student Pro Bono Award, to be presented May 20 at the Louisiana Supreme Court.

In his new San Francisco job, Whittenberg, who received a master’s degree in politics and education before law school, will focus on an initiative nicknamed the Baby Elmo program, which teaches incarcerated juveniles with young children the skills to be committed parents both while they’re in custody and when they’re released.

Linda P. Campbell is director of communications for the Tulane Law School. 

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000