Virginia State Bar

An agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia

Adjust Text Size:   A   A

Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award

The Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award was inaugurated by the Virginia State Bar in February 2002. Established to honor extraordinary law student achievement in the areas of pro bono publico and under-compensated public service work in Virginia, the Hill Law Student Award is administered by the Bar’s Standing Committee on Access to Legal Services.

Presentation of the award is reserved for extraordinary achievements of outstanding students. The Access Committee will annually review nominations to determine if there should be a designee. The award is presented at the VSB’s Annual Meeting in June at a luncheon for interested members of the legal aid and pro bono communities.

The Access Committee invites submissions from law school deans, law school professors, and others, including non-bar members and organizations that are sufficiently familiar with candidates whose work meets or exceeds the following criteria:

  • Core eligibility is evidenced by a minimum of 100 hours of uncompensated, voluntary pro bono work** completed over the course of a law student’s career. Pro bono work is considered voluntary, even though it meets a law school’s community service requirements, so long as the student receives no academic or clinical credit for such work. The nominator may submit a reasonable estimate of pro bono hours, rather than an exact record, to meet the minimum standard of 100 hours.
  • A student’s participation in under-compensated public service work is a supplemental factor that will be considered in selecting a recipient. (Nominators should clearly indicate when public service work is under-compensated, and, if possible, provide details of the extent of the student’s financial sacrifice.)
  • Participation in other activities while in law school that demonstrates a student’s commitment to public and/or community service may also be taken into consideration, including, for example, organizing a public service career panel, helping to raise funds to support public service summer jobs, or participating in non-law-related community service programs.
  • All students meeting core criteria whose final academic year of law school in Virginia begins in the calendar year before the award is given will be eligible as nominees. Part-time law students would be eligible for consideration during their final academic year of law school. (This means, for example, that a student who graduates in December 2016 would be eligible for inclusion in nominations submitted for the Spring 2017 deadline.)

There is no nomination form to complete. Please forward narratives and references, identifying the candidate and the candidate’s law school, and explain how the nominee meets award criteria. All entries, including endorsements and other supporting material, are due by the date listed on the awards page. 

**For guidance in identifying categories of pro bono publico service, nominators are encouraged to review the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct, especially Public Service Rules 6.1 and 6.2 and their commentary. Also useful is Bar Council’s 1999 Resolution to Enhance Pro Bono Publico in Virginia which complements the rules. Together they demonstrate the breadth of service types for which the bar is eager to acknowledge extraordinary contributions. For example, consideration may be given to appropriately supervised student research and other qualifying law-related work on behalf of indigent criminal defendants, public charities, faith congregation-sponsored projects serving the poor, public interest groups, community mediation centers, and nonprofit legal services providers, including licensed legal aid societies.