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Penn Law’s Walk-In Legal Assistance Project (WILA)

At a weekly clinic, WILA provides accessible civil legal services to people who are experiencing homelessness or are housing insecure.

What we do: 

Students complete intake services and assist with birth certificate applications, SSI/SSDI screenings, tax returns, landlord/tenant disputes, issues with public benefits, and other civil legal issues at a weekly meal program. Students may also complete work outside of the regular times of the clinic as required for cases or outreach projects.

How we do it:

People who are attending a weekly meal program come to the legal clinic’s station when they are looking for legal assistance or advocacy. Students conduct an intake interview and assist with completing the applicable civil legal services while working closely with the supervising attorney.

Who we work with: 

We work with clients who are housing insecure or experiencing homelessness at a weekly meal program, run by the University City Hospitality Coalition (UCHC). Additionally, WILA partners with the Homeless Advocacy Project, an organization that delivers legal services directly to people experiencing homelessness where they live and eat.

How and when can I join:

Students should complete WILA’s volunteer application during the first few weeks of the Fall semester. Upon acceptance, WILA volunteers must attend a Homeless Advocacy Project training, offered at the law school, before they can begin assisting clients. After the application period has closed, interested students should email WILA’s Volunteer Coordinator, Mary Felder.

What skills will I develop:

Interviewing and intake, client counseling, access to government and social services, community engagement, legal analysis.

The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible.