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Student Organizations - Student-Run Pro Bono Projects

Prisoners' Education and Advocacy Project (PEAP)
This student-run organization promotes efficient self-advocacy among incarcerated persons while fostering a better understanding of prisoners' legal issues among law students. PEAP members teach legal lessons in the Philadelphia Prison System, help former inmates apply for pardons, and volunteer at the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. PEAP also hosts a number of speakers throughout the school year who provide insight to students on incarceration matters.
Public Interest Mentoring Initiative (PIMI)
PIMI is a student-managed network of mentors and mentees interested in pursuing, considering, or simply discussing public interest legal careers and courses. Our mentor/mentee relationships provide new students advice, support and friendship and are fun and rewarding for both sides.
Reproductive Rights Law Project
The Reproductive Rights Project assists the Women's Law Project on legislation as well as legal research and writing on local, state and federal issues and activities that may advance or undermine reproductive rights. The project advocates for women who seek access to reproductive health services. Legal Supervision: Women's Law Project
Street Law
Through Street Law, advocates teach a law related curriculum on social justice to middle and high school students throughout Philadelphia.
Urban Ventures Project
The Urban Ventures Project builds partnerships with Philadelphia-area public schools, charter schools, and after-school programs to identify students interested in the entire venture creation process, from idea generation to the building of a sustainable business, with specific emphasis on the legal and social considerations involved in entrepreneurship. Penn Law volunteers lead small-group teaching sessions through our specially-designed curriculum, using a hands-on approach.
Civil Rights Law Project
The Penn Law Civil Rights Law Project is committed to serving social justice in the Philadelphia area. Currently, this project works with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and actively seeks to form additional partnerships with other civil rights advocacy organizations, to assist with their litigation and public policy efforts on civil rights issues. The project’s ultimate goal is to promote the principles of antidiscrimination, equal opportunity, and equal justice under the law for all persons, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or poverty.
Custody and Support Assistance Clinic (CASAC)
The Custody and Support Assistance Clinic is an independent, nonprofit pro bono project partnered with the Penn Law and Philadelphia Legal Assistance. Each year, CASAC selects from among Penn Law students 20 advocates who staff a shift each week to assist clients in family court matters related to custody, child support, and domestic violence.
Employment Advocacy Project
EAP advocates represent unemployment claimants who are appealing their denials of unemployment compensation. Advocates interview clients, research applicable law, conduct direct and cross examinations, and give closing statements before an administrative law judge. Legal Supervision: Philadelphia Legal Assistance
Environmental Law Project (ELP)
Students engage in pro bono and for-credit research projects to actively address the unmet needs of environmental preservation and justice on a local, regional, national and international level through support for legislative advocacy, community lawyering, and policy research. Past areas of student research/work have involved issues such as public access to information, waterfront development and protected area status. ELP currently runs an externship with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, a local environmental group, in public interest environmental lawyering. Students apply an interdisciplinary focus to address the legal, scientific, economic, political and social factors that are involved in environmental lawyering.
Legal Education Partnership
The Legal Education Partnership sustains a meaningful partnership between the students, faculty, and staff at Penn Law and the students, teachers, administration, parents, and community at Boys' Latin of Philadelphia Charter School. Specifically, the partnership aims to provide comprehensive legal services and support to the students and community at Boys' Latin. The partnership is mutually beneficial, providing a place for community activism and clinical legal practice for the law students, while also providing the high school with academic support, aspiration building programs, and legal resources.
Marshall Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project
Law students teach high school students about their rights and responsibilities under the Constitution utilizing the We the Students textbook, written by law professor and founder of the program Jamie Raskin. Penn Law students also prepare area high school students for the annual nationwide Moot Court Competition held in Washington D.C.
Penn Advocates for the Homeless
Students provide legal assistance to homeless clients by conducting outreach at local West Philadelphia homeless shelters. Recently Penn Advocates for the Homeless trained 13 new advocates who opened 50 cases in a variety of substantive areas of law including landlord-tenant, disability, family law, government benefits, and workers' compensation. The group works in collaboration with Penn's School of Social Policy & Practice.
Penn Housing Rights Project
Through daily observations of landlord/tenant proceedings, students collect data on the extent to which the court complies with procedural and substantive rules and the particular challenges facing under-represented clients.
Guild Food Stamp Clinic
Founded in 1984, this student-run project provides legal counseling and representation to clients in food stamp cases. Recently 16 Penn Law students participated in the Project and provided assistance to nearly 300 clients in food stamp cases. Legal Supervision: Philadelphia Legal Assistance
Immigrant Rights Project
The Immigrant Rights Project is a student-run clinic that provides direct legal services to indigent immigrants in the greater Philadelphia area. Penn Law students assist individuals from all over the world in applications for asylum and for benefits under the Violence Against Women Act. Additionally, students are engaged in research relating to immigration appeals and unlawful detention at Guantanamo Bay with pro bono attorneys at Reed Smith. Supervision: Nationalities Service Center, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and Reed Smith. Legal Supervision: HIAS Migration and Council
Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)
Iraqi citizens who assisted American forces and international organizations during the Iraq War live under serious threat that they and their family members may be kidnapped, tortured, or murdered. The Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project is a national organization with branches at law schools throughout the country designed to address the needs of this vulnerable and deserving population. IRAP's Penn Law Chapter began in February of 2010 and consists of three branches—legal, community service, and policy. IRAP’s legal branch partners students with supervising attorneys to provide legal assistance to Iraqis as they apply for resettlement as refugees or special immigrants in the United States. Students on our community service team assist refugees in the Philadelphia area with Green Card applications and tax filings in partnership with Nationalities Services Center and the Arab American Community Development Corporation. Our policy team, meanwhile, advocates for ethical government policy t
Servicemembers and Veterans Legal Assistance Project
The Servicemembers and Veterans Legal Assistance Project (SVLAP) is a pro bono organization dedicated to providing legal services, resources, and assistance to Philadelphia-area veterans, active-duty servicemembers, and their families. SVLAP volunteers assist the Philadelphia Veterans Court program and the Military Assistance Project in client intake and management, and work directly with veteran-clients to connect them with civil legal resources. Through a partnership with the Veterans Legal Foundation, SVLAP is compiling a research report on potential sentencing mitigation legislation in Pennsylvania that asks a judge to consider a veteran's combat service in criminal sentencing proceedings. SVLAP is also seeking to organize workshops with Philadelphia practitioners to assist veterans and active military in creating important legal documents, including wills and power of attorney.
Penn Law International Human Rights Advocates (IHRA)
IHRA seeks to create a space within the Penn Law community to conduct research, undertake advocacy campaigns, and educate colleagues on contemporary issues of international human rights. IHRA has four programming elements — a human rights clinic, an advocacy program, a spring break trip, and a career forum for international human rights.
Students Against Gender-Based Exploitation (SAGE)
The SAGE Project serves survivors of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and other forms of gender-based exploitation. The project engages these issues in a variety of legal frameworks, including family law, criminal law, civil law, and legal education. SAGE aims to provide legal training and hands-on experience to students interested in direct service work with survivors of trauma, and strives to prepare students for the social and psychological needs of a client that arise while engaging the client’s legal case.