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External Pro Bono Placements

In addition to working with one (or more!) of our student pro bono groups, Penn Law students are welcome to do pro bono through self-initiated placements or external pro bono opportunities circulated by TPIC.

Click on a topic to learn more:

Self-Initiated Placements

Students who have identified an external pro bono opportunity must fill out a Student-Initiated Placement Form and submit it to TPIC for approval. Students should not begin any self-initiated work prior to TPIC’s approval.

Eligible placement sites include:

  • All government agencies and all non-profit organizations other than trade associations, regardless of the political orientation of the organization.
  • Assisting private attorneys in pro bono cases.
  • Pro bono work on behalf of non-profit community groups is eligible if it meets the above definition and is performed by the supervisor in his or her role as counsel to the organization.
  • Work done for a faculty member (other than work on scholarship) may qualify if it meets all other criteria.
  • Clerkships with an individual judge do not qualify; however, court projects assisting pro se litigants are eligible.

External Opportunities

Penn Law and TPIC maintain partnerships with legal aid organizations in the community. These organizations often need law student volunteers to aid them in the important work they do.

All opportunities posted meet Penn Law’s pro bono eligibility guidelines. When an opportunity meets the NY Bar guidelines as well, an apple icon will appear in the posting. Click below to see a list of the current pro bono opportunities.

Current External Opportunities

Click on an opportunity to learn more:

American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania

Who can Participate

All Students

Organizations Website

https://www.aclupa.org/

Description

The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible.

Through advocacy, education and litigation, our attorneys, advocates and volunteers work to preserve and promote civil liberties including the freedom of speech, the right to privacy, reproductive freedom, and equal treatment under the law. We stand in defense of the rights of women and minorities, workers, students, immigrants, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and others who have seen bias and bigotry threaten the rights afforded to all of us in this country by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Thousands of Pennsylvanians are jailed each year because they are too poor to pay court fines and fees stemming from municipal violations, traffic offenses, summary offenses, and the like. The law student volunteer will help sort through data obtained through open records requests, reviews of court records, and courtroom observations to help better understand the scope of the problem. Because different courts take varying approaches to collecting these fines and fees, the volunteer will also help track local and regional court practices. There will be a particular focus on the practices of courts in the counties surrounding Philadelphia. This project will be one part of an effort to end debtors’ prison practices in Pennsylvania. 

Time Commitment

5-10 hours per week

To Express Interest

Interested students should email the supervising attorney, Andrew Christy (achristy@aclupa.org), directly

 CHILD USA

Who can Participate

All Students

Organization Website

www.childusa.org

Description

The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible.

Prof. Marci A. Hamilton (University of Pennsylvania, SAS), Dr. Steven Berkowitz (Penn Medicine), and Dr. Paul Offit (CHOP) have launched the first-of-its-kind interdisciplinary nonprofit think tank to study and document how the legal and medical systems affect victims of child abuse and neglect. Our mission is to generate studies to establish best practices to build a victim-centered medico-legal system and to launch the go-to website for evidence-based information in the field.

(CHILD is an acronym for Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty)

We are seeking 1-2 Penn law students/semester to work on cutting edge legal research involving child sexual abuse and/or medical neglect of children and the legal system.  The focus Fall 2016 is on a nationwide study involving child rape kits.

Time Commitment

6-10 hours/week

To Express Interest

Email supervising attorney, Marci Hamilton hamilton.marci@gmail.com, directly 

National Constitution Center

Who can Participate

All Students

Organization Website

www.constitutioncenter.org

Description

The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible.

Interns will work closely with the National Constitution Center’s Senior Fellow for Constitutional Studies to produce top-quality constitutional content for the NCC’s debates, events, podcasts, exhibits, and scholarship. Tasks will include background research for the Center’s President and its Senior Fellow on a variety of contemporary constitutional issues and on key topics in constitutional history. The project and work will support this non-profit to promote constitutional education and civil dialogue.

Time Commitment

4-6 hours per week (this is flexible)

Course Requirements or Pre-Requisites

Constitutional law

To Express Interest

Send your resume to Hillary Wiesel (hwiesel@law.upenn.edu)

Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP)

Who can Participate

All Students

Organization Website

http://www.pilcop.org/

Description

The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible.

The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, a nonprofit organization focused on representing individuals and organizations challenging policies and practices that perpetuate discrimination, inequality and poverty, is looking for legal interns for Fall 2016. Interns will research and write about diverse issues related to pending and future litigation. PILCOP is looking for students interested in poverty law, specifically related to education and housing.

Time Commitment

Total of 35-40 hours across the semester. Commitments will vary based on the ebbs and flow of litigation. Most work can be done remotely but some in-person training and meetings will be required.

To Express Interest

Send your resume and a brief letter of interest to Hillary Wiesel (hwiesel@law.upenn.edu)

Public Health Management Corporation

Who Can Participate
3L students preferred

Organization Website

http://www.phmc.org/site/index.php

Description

This opportunity is likely to be New York Bar eligible.

Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a regional public health institute that serves approximately 200,000 clients through more than 250 programs, 13 affiliates, and 70 locations. The PHMC Policy Collaborative builds the “system for systems-level change” for PHMC and its affiliates through a broad range of policy initiatives.

The participating student will work at PHMC headquarters in Center City Philadelphia supporting work of the PHMC Policy Collaborative and the Law and Policy team. Specific assignments will be tailored to the student based on current projects and the interests, skills and experience of the individual student. Projects typically include intensive legal research and analysis, work with interdisciplinary internal and external teams, and various forms of writing (legal and other). Upcoming project work involves telehealth/telemedicine, opioid overdose prevention, the criminal justice system, and scope of practice. In addition to performing focused work on a specific assignment(s), the student has the option to attend a weekly Public Health Policy Speaker Series “classroom” component held at PHMC headquarters, featuring speakers with broad expertise working directly and indirectly on policy-related initiatives.

Specific significance and impact varies based upon the particular project and its context; however, the overall aim of projects undertaken by the Policy Collaborative and the Law and Policy team is to generate evidence-based research to support systems, programs, and concepts that further public health and/or shed light on the social determinants of health.

Time commitment: Variable, based upon student availability and current project needs.

To Express Interest

Email supervisor, Kelly Thompson, kthompson@nncc.us, directly

City of Philadelphia Law Department

Who Can Participate
All Students

Organization Website

http://www.phila.gov/law/Pages/default.aspx

Description

This opportunity is likely to be New York Bar eligible.

The Law Department’s civil practice includes unique issues involving public interest. Our lawyers help chart the course for the City in business, health, safety, commerce, civil rights, taxation, and community development.Working with the City Solicitor, our lawyers prepare contracts and other legal documents to which the City is a party. Each year, hundreds of ordinances are drafted within the Law Department. Advice is provided to the Mayor, City Council and the operating departments so the City can manage risk and develop proactive and sound policies. Thus, the work of our lawyers significantly influences the projects and outcomes of the City of Philadelphia. For this reason, our lawyers are routinely provided with intellectual challenge and the satisfaction of knowing their legal work makes a difference in the lives of the citizens of Philadelphia.

Assignments will vary depending on the unit assigned and the discretion of the supervising attorney.

Time commitment: will vary by department

To Express Interest

Email your resume and letter of interest to Hillary Wiesel (hwiesel@law.upenn.edu)

CEIBA

Who Can Participate
All Students

Organization Website

http://ceibaphiladelphia.org/

Description

This opportunity is likely to be New York Bar eligible.

Ceiba has several direct client and research projects available for Penn Law students. Ceiba is looking for students who have a significant interest in poverty law, specifically issues of immigration and/or housing.

Time commitment: 4-8 hours per week.

To Express Interest

Send your resume and brief letter of interest to Hillary Wiesel (hwiesel@law.upenn.edu)

Earthjustice

Who Can Participate

All students with a commitment to environmental protection or environmental justice and with strong research, analytic, and writing skills.

Organization Website

www.earthjustice.org

This opportunity is likely to be New York Bar eligible.

Description

Earthjustice, the nation’s premier non profit law organization, seeks an unpaid legal intern perform research and writing in support of our litigation.  The intern will work under the direct supervision of attorneys in our Philadelphia office, which focuses on litigation involving the coal industry.  The intern will assist in case investigation, legal research and discovery.  A minimum of 8-10 hrs./week is required.

To Express Interest

Using the Jobvite application tool, please submit a resume, cover letter, and writing sample. Click here to apply.

Honoring the Future

Who Can Participate

All Students

Organization Website

http://www.honoringthefuture.org/

Description

This opportunity is likely to be NY Bar eligible.

Honoring the Future, a nonprofit climate education project, seeks a pro bono legal intern to research and write about domestic and international legal developments on climate change.

Research and writing will be used to update educational materials published on project website, so ability to explain legal concepts succinctly and in language clearly understandable to the general public is essential. The intern will report directly to the Project Director in Washington DC via email and regularly scheduled conference calls; research and writing can be done from a remote location. A minimum of 8-10 hrs./week is required.

To Express Interest

Apply online at info@honoringthefuture.org; no phone calls please! Include resume, writing sample, and an explanation of no more than 100 words on any pertinent legal development not already described at http://www.honoringthefuture.org/climate-smarts/climate-resources/law/.

Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts

Who Can Participate

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.

Organization Website

www.pmconline.org

Description

This opportunity is likely to be NY Bar eligible.

Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting equal access to justice, civic education, and judicial modernization and reform. As a longtime leader in the fair courts movement, we seek to improve the lives of individual citizens while affecting systemic change. The diversity of our programming allows interns to fulfill specialized roles according to their interests. We encourage autonomy and creativity in the assumption of these roles.

Initiatives that are currently being advanced by PMC include: Identifying and eliminating sources of bias in the justice system, including barriers to justice based on race, gender, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status; Engaging in community outreach to provide citizens with accurate information about their rights and responsibilities in our courts; Increasing appellate diversity by campaigning for a more equitable method of judicial selection; Acting as an unbiased resource for those seeking impartial and accurate information about court processes; Working to improve the treatment of people with mental illness in the criminal justice system; Creating and instigating policies to ensure more racially representative juries; Advocating for legislation designed to remove money from court-oriented political processes.

 

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: 10 hours per week.

To Express Interest

Please email info@pmconline.org with a cover letter, resume, and availability.

Philadelphia Bar Association

Who Can Participate
All Students

Organization Website

www.philadelphiabar.org

Description

This opportunity is likely to be New York Bar eligible.

The Philadelphia Bar Association, founded in 1802, is the oldest association of lawyers in the United States. It is a keystone in the ongoing developments of the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania legal systems.

The Public Interest/Access to Justice Law Student Intern will work during the fall 2016 semester on a variety of projects for the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Delivery of Legal Services Committee (DLSC) and the Civil Gideon and Access to Justice Task Force.

The internship is unpaid and must qualify for pro bono or internship/externship class credit.

To Express Interest

To apply, please send a resume, one writing sample, and a cover letter to Merril L. Zebe, Esq., Public Interest Coordinator, at mzebe@philabar.org.

The Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement

Who Can Participate

All Students

Organization Website

http://rendellcenter.org/

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 in the development of civics/literacy curriculum for students in grades k-6. The curriculum has a strong legal focus and includes the development of Literacy Based Mock trials. You will be contributing to the development of the vision and scope of new curriculum projects and ongoing development and publication of daily and weekly content materials.

Time Commitment: 4-6 hours per week

Skills/knowledge

Pennsylvania law requires all volunteers in the Philadelphia School District to complete background checks. Contact TPIC for guidance in navigating this process.

To Express Interest

Send resume and letter of interest to Hillary Wiesel (hwiesel@law.upenn.edu) in TPIC.