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The American Bar Association has an opportunity to provide national leadership on law student pro bono programs.

As members prepare to head to the ABA’s annual meeting in San Francisco starting on August 8, the council in charge of legal education and bar admissions still has time to include a 50-hour pro bono service graduation requirement for law students.

Back in November 2012, when we asked the ABA’s Standards Review Committee to include the 50-hour requirement in the revised accreditation standards that it was then developing for consideration by the Council of the ABA Section on Legal Education and Bar Admission, the Committee rejected the idea, noting in its minutes that it "did not agree that such a requirement was correctly placed in the accreditation standards."

Years earlier, however, the dialogue had already moved beyond the baseline question of whether the ABA’s standards should cover pro bono service.

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