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Trans Empowerment & Advocacy Project (TEA)

TEA is a pro bono project dedicated to supporting trans and nonbinary people and ensuring their access to travel, employment, government services, housing, and public accommodations without fear of discrimination or being outed.

What we do:

Trans Empowerment and Advocacy (TEA) helps low-income transgender and nonbinary people in Philadelphia to navigate the name change process and supports litigation and policy efforts to improve outcomes and opportunities for trans communities across the country.

How we do it:

For name-change projects, we work with the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia to identify clients and Ballard Spahr supervises our volunteers. In pairs of two, volunteers will work with their client and supervising attorney over a several month period to write and submit name-change petitions and perform judgment searches.

Research projects are project-based and come from impact litigation and policy organizations working to improve the lives of trans people, and we expect them to vary widely in both size and the nature of the work. Students are invited to volunteer for research projects as they become available throughout the academic year.

How and when can I join:

Because the name-change work requires specific training, we expect to recruit student volunteers for that part of the project twice per year—once in the early fall and once heading into the spring semester. Research tends to be more fluid and requires less specific training. If you are interested in joining TEA for name-change or research-based projects, please send us an email at pennlawtea@gmail.com and we will provide next steps.

What skills will I develop:

Name-Change Assignments: Client counseling, interviewing, judgment searches, and intake and drafting court petitions.

Research Assignments: Legal analysis, research, and writing and policy advocacy.

Name-change work is likely to be New York Bar eligible; research work may vary by project.