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External Pro Bono Placements

Penn Law students are welcome to do pro bono through external pro bono opportunities organized by TPIC at community public interest organizations and government agencies. All opportunities posted meet Penn Law’s Pro Bono eligibility guidelines. We also indicate if an opportunity is likely to meet the NY Bar Pro Bono guidelines.

Please only apply for one external pro bono opportunity at a time. 

 

ABIERTO (available for Fall 2020)

Who can Participate: All students with excellent research and writing skills. 

Description: ABIERTO, a coalition to abolish grand juries, is a young, grassroots organization seeking to reform the criminal justice system. 
Legal Research Assistant: State Memos
Students are needed to research and write a memo on how the grand jury system operates in an assigned state. The memo will also focus on paths to reform, current key actors in the state, as well as how the grand jury has functioned in relation to police officer involved deaths. 

Time Commitment: 2-5 hours per week. Each state memo is anticipated to take approximately 8 weeks. 

NY Bar Pro Bono: The work is not expected to be New York Bar eligible.

To express interest: Email your resume to Sarah Egoville. 

 

 

Climate Science Defense Legal Fund (available for Fall 2020)

Who can Participate: 2L and 3Ls with strong research/writing skills.
Description: The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization based in New York City. Our mission is to protect the scientific endeavor. We represent scientists—with a particular focus on climate scientists—who are silenced, harassed, or otherwise attacked because of the work they do.
Working closely with CSLDF attorneys, the student will conduct legal research and draft documents including legal memoranda and/or sections of documents such as complaints and motions. The student may potentially also participate in client and witness interviews.
This is an excellent opportunity to hone legal research and writing skills, and to learn about the intersection of law, science, and policy. Excellent research and writing skills required. As of now, the student will work remotely.
Time Commitment: 8-10 hours/week for a semester commitment. 
NY Bar Pro Bono: The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible.
To express interest: Email resume, short writing sample and a cover letter (addressed to Augusta Wilson) to Sarah Egoville.

 

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)  (available for Fall 2020)

Who can Participate: 2L and 3L students. 
Description: Students will perform substantive work on behalf of student and faculty civil liberties, including freedom of expression and due process rights. Student responsibilities will vary based on staff needs but will likely include: researching and analyzing policies related to expression or disciplinary procedures on college campuses, writing or updating memoranda on recent developments in First Amendment, administrative, contract and constitutional law, and assisting FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program with cases involving civil liberties violations at colleges and universities across the county.
Course Requirements or Pre-Requisites: Knowledge of constitutional law, especially First Amendment law, is preferred. Excellent legal writing and analytical skills, including attention to detail, are required. Ideal candidates will have a demonstrated commitment to FIRE’s mission.
Time Commitment: 7-7.5 hours per week remotely (one full work day).
NY Bar Pro Bono: The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible.
To express interest: Email a cover letter, resume and short writing sample to Susan Kruth, susan@thefire.org.

 

Jurist (available for Fall 2020)

Who can Participate: All students with excellent writing skills. 
Description: Jurist is a public service project powered by law students under attorney supervision, providing legal news and commentary and expanding public access to legal information. Jurist, a 501(c)3, promotes civic engagement, deepens debate, and forges stronger and more inclusive democracies. Students who volunteer with Jurist will track important legal developments and explain them rapidly and clearly in a widely-accessible format. The goal is for students to serve the legal informational and educational needs of the public.
Time Commitment: 5 hours per week with a semester commitment. 
NY Bar Pro Bono: The work is NOT likely to be New York Bar eligible.
To express interest: Please complete the online application here. Please note that the typical deadline to apply is Friday, September 4th but the organization is able to accept students on a rolling basis. 

 

Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts (available for Fall 2020)

Who Can Participate: 2Ls and 3Ls - PMC is seeking self-motivated interns with excellent research and writing abilities and a strong commitment to social justice. Students with a background in public policy, education and/or public interest law are encouraged to apply.
Description: Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting equal access to justice, civic education, and judicial modernization and reform. In addition to advocating for systemic policy changes, such as merit selection of statewide appellate judges, Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts engages in numerous educational and reform initiatives.

Responsibilities may include: Conducting legal research and writing on court reform issues in Pennsylvania and nationally; engaging with pro se litigants and connecting helpline callers to appropriate resources; observing and participating in aspects of the legislative process; attending and reporting on court proceedings to identify potential areas of systemic improvement; determining additional short-term mechanisms of furthering PMC’s goals, and devising ways to implement these mechanisms.
Time Commitment: Approximately 10 hours per week, but this can be flexible.
NY Bar Pro Bono: The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible.
To express interest: Submit your resume and a cover letter explaining why you are interested in the position and why you believe you are a good fit to Kathleen Moyer, Manager of Marketing & Administration, at moyer@pmconline.org.

 

 

Penn Law Clinical Program (Translators only) (available for Fall 2020) 

Who can Participate: All Students
Description: Penn Law’s Clinical Program is looking for students interested in volunteering their services as language translators/interpreters during the academic year. Volunteer interpreters and translators to assist the clinic in providing the best possible representation for non-English speaking clients. Volunteers will assist clinic student attorneys by interpreting during meetings with clients who are non-English speakers, and may also translate written documents. This semester in our Civil Practice Clinic, Transnational Legal Clinic and our Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic have a special need for students who are fluent in Spanish, French and many other languages. This experience will provide volunteers with a chance to see actual client representation, and will also fulfill a great need as all work in these clinics is provided free of charge to indigent members of our community.
NY Bar Pro Bono: The work is NOT New York Bar eligible.
To express interest: Complete this Qualtrics Survey regarding your language abilities. Your survey information will be placed in a database for students to access once they have a need for interpreting/translating in their cases. Please email clinic@law.upenn.edu with any questions or concerns.

 

People for the American Way (available for Fall 2020)

Who can Participate: 2L and 3Ls with excellent research/writing skills.
Description: People for the American Way works to build a democratic system that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. PFAW encourages civic participation, defending of fundamental rights and fighting to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. PFAW is looking for one student with excellent research/writing skills for each sub-project. 

Legal research on Court of Appeals judges’ decisions:
One student is needed to research and review the opinions of recently appointed judges to assess their records on a variety of issues of interest to PFAW members and allies. 

Public policy research on ending police violence and transforming public safety:
One student is needed to conduct research on promising approaches at the local, state and federal level to address police violence and transforming communities’ public safety. 

Time Commitment: 4-8 hours per week with a semester commitment.
NY Bar Pro Bono: The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible.
To express interest: Please submit a resume, cover letter (addressed to Marge Baker, Executive Vice President for Policy and Program) and short writing sample to Sarah Egoville.

 

Pepper Center (Immigration)  (anticipated for Fall 2020)

Who Can Participate: All students that are fluent in Spanish. Immigration law knowledge or experience is not required.
Description: The Pepper Center for Public Service (housed at Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLC), works with several organizations serving immigrants, such as rhe Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center (PIRC), HIAS-PA and Nationalities Service Center. The Pepper Center provides pro bono counsel in a range of immigration matters, including asylum defense, bond hearings for immigration detainees and appeals within the immigration court system.  Students will assist Troutman Pepper attorneys in communicating with clients in their native language (Spanish), conduct interviews and factual investigations as well as prepare court filings. 
Time Commitment: Flexible, approximately 10+ hours per month. While this opportunity typically requires students to travel with supervising attorneys to York County prison, prison entrance has been restricted due to COVID. Interviews of detainees will usually occur over video. 
NY Bar Pro Bono: The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible.
To express interest: Email your resume to Sarah Egoville.

 

Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement  (anticipated for Fall 2020) 

Who Can Participate: All Students
Description: The Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement is a non- profit organization started by Judge Marjorie Rendell and Governor Edward Rendell to promote civics education and engagement. The Rendell Center offers opportunities for educators and the broader community to develop the knowledge, practices and dispositions of engaged citizenship. For educators, the Rendell Center creates curriculum content, pedagogical tools, and professional development experiences. For students, the Rendell Center develops literacy-based programs and experiential learning exercises.

We are looking for dynamic, innovative and passionate individuals interested in joining our team to assist us in the rollout of our Literacy Based Mock Trial program in grades k-8. We are looking for assistance in the development of material as well as individuals to work with elementary school classrooms on the Literature Based Mock program. This program combines literacy and the law in dynamic lessons for elementary school students. In addition, we are also looking for assistance with a new mock trial initiative with middle school students similar to the High School Mock Trial competition. We are particularly seeking help to transition our lessons to the virtual worlds. 

Pennsylvania law requires all volunteers in the Philadelphia School District to complete background checks. Contact TPIC for guidance in navigating this process.
Time commitment: 4-6 hours per week.
NY Bar Pro Bono: The work is NOT New York Bar eligible.
To express interest: Email your resume and letter of interest (attention: Beth Specker, Executive Director) to Sarah Egoville.