The St. Mary’s University School of Law received a $15,000 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation to encourage pro bono legal work through public service fellowships.

The grant will provide financial support to six St. Mary’s Law students who have secured an unpaid position with legal services providers serving low-income clients or government agencies.

The funding will encourage and promote legal assistance to poor and disadvantaged people and also enhance the ethical and professional practice of law. St. Mary’s Law students recorded more than 13,300 pro bono and community service hours in 2021.

Leslie Espiricueta stands in the law library.
Leslie Espiricueta

Many St. Mary’s Law students seek work with nonprofit organizations or governmental agencies during the summer months to make a difference in their communities and to begin their legal careers in public service work. But the reality is that working in the public sector over the summer typically means committing to unpaid hours. Many law students do not have the means or financial support to accept unpaid positions. 

“Without the fellowship, I would not have been able to complete my summer placement,” said Leslie Espiricueta, St. Mary’s J.D. student. “As a first-generation student from a low-income background, pursuing my passions is a luxury I am usually unable to afford. The fellowship let me do something I loved during the summer without having to worry about how I was going to pay my rent or eat for the week.”

Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $25 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably funded bar foundation.

Back to top