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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.

Current External Opportunities

Click on an opportunity to learn more:

 

• ACLU

• Board of Ethics

• Ceiba

• CHILD USA

 City of Philadelphia Law Department

• Education Law Center

• Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)

• HIAS

• Office of Councilmember Helen Gym

• Office of Disciplinary Counsel

• Office of Immigrant Affairs, City of Philadelphia

Penn Law Clinical Program (Translators only)

• Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts (PMC)

• Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY)

• Public Interest Law Center

• Reentry Court

• Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement

• School District of Philadelphia

• SeniorLAW Center

 

 

ACLU

Who can Participate 

All students

Organization Website 

https://www.aclupa.org/

Description 

The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible. 

Through advocacy, education and litigation, the attorneys, advocates and volunteers at the ACLU of Pennsylvania 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.

The ACLU of Pennsylvania is currently seeking law student volunteers to help with short and long-term projects throughout the semester. For example, law students could observe court proceedings as part of our bail-watching project, obtain and review court records, or perform legal research and writing assignments on narrow topics in support of our wider litigation and advocacy efforts. At this time, we are particularly looking for volunteers interested in working on a project involving the Pennsylvania Constitution and associated case law. 

Time Commitment 

Varies by project. When applying, volunteers should estimate the number of hours each week and the number of weeks they will be able to volunteer.

To Express Interest 

Email volunteer@aclupa.org with a resume and brief writing sample. 

 

Board of Ethics

Who can Participate 

2Ls and 3Ls preferred

Organization Website 

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

Description 

The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible. 

Students are needed to assist with the Board’s investigation and enforcement activities and also to conduct factual and legal research. The Board of Ethics is an independent City board charged with administering and enforcing the City’s ethics, campaign finance and lobbying laws.
 
*It is possible that more than one student may be needed.

Time Commitment 

10-15 hours of work per week and some of the work could be done remotely.

To Express Interest 

Email Director of Enforcement Michael Cooke, michael.cooke@phila.gov, with a resume and writing sample.

 

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 issues of housing, economic development, immigration, tax policy, consumer protection, language access, voting rights, and civil rights.

Time commitment

4-8 hours per week

To Express Interest

Email your resume and brief letter of interest to Sarah Egoville, segoville@law.upenn.edu

 

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) oversee the first-of-its-kind interdisciplinary nonprofit think tank for child protection, CHILD USA.  CHILD USA’s mission is to end child abuse and neglect through evidence-based research and public advocacy resulting in laws and public policy that truly protect children.  

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

We are seeking 2 Penn law students/semester to work on cutting edge legal research involving child abuse or neglect and the legal system.  There are 3 studies underway: (1) the handling (or mishandling) of children’s rape kits; (2) the effects of gay conversion or reparative therapy for purposes of establishing public policy involving religious exemptions; and (3) abuse and neglect of elite athletes.  There will also be research involving child sex abuse statutes of limitations, child marriage laws, extreme religious liberty statutes, and medical neglect laws for our website www.childusa.org.

Time Commitment

6-10 hours/week

To Express Interest

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

As counsel for the City of Philadelphia, the Law Department’s lawyers help chart the course for the City in business, health, safely, commerce, civil rights, taxation, and community development. The Law Department is composed of four groups: Corporate and Tax, Litigation, Social Services, and Legislation. Within each group are numerous Units and Divisions with a wide range of practice areas. Our attorneys represent the City before federal and state courts on a diverse array of matters, including civil rights, tort claims, labor and employment, affirmative litigation, and appeals. We also draft ordinances and contracts to which the City is a party. We provide advice to the Mayor, City Council, and the operating departments so the City can manage risk and develop proactive and sound policies. Our lawyers enjoy intellectually challenging work and the satisfaction of knowing that their efforts make 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

Varies by department

To Express Interest

Email your resume and letter of interest to Sarah Egoville (segoville@law.upenn.edu). Please specify in your letter of interest which groups/units are of interest.

 

Education Law Center 

Who can Participate  

2Ls and 3Ls committed to education access for all students, particularly vulnerable populations 

Organization Website 

https://www.elc-pa.org/  

Description 

The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible.

The Education Law Center’s mission is to ensure access to a quality public education for all children in Pennsylvania. We pursue this mission through litigation and policy advocacy on behalf of the most vulnerable students — children living in poverty, children of color, children in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, children with disabilities, English Language Learners, LGBTQ students, and children experiencing homelessness. ELC has three priority program areas which often intersect: ensuring equal access to school, advocating for fair school funding, and dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline.  ELC engages an array of strategies to fulfill our mission including legislative advocacy, impact litigation, community engagement, and direct representation. The pro bono intern would support ELC’s direct representation work through handling intake calls with clients, support ELC’s litigation and legislative advocacy through legal research and writing, and provide other support as needed and observing attorneys in various aspects of their work. Fluency in Spanish, an understanding of special education law, and/or experience working with diverse communities are valued but not required qualifications. 

Time Commitment  

~minimum10 hours a week with semester commitment in the office (1315 Walnut Street, Philadelphia) 

To Express Interest  

Email Sarah Egoville, segoville@law.upenn.edu with resume and cover letter addressed to Kristina Moon, ELC Staff Attorney.

 

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)

Who can Participate 

All Students, 2Ls and 3Ls are preferred.

Organization Website

www.thefire.org

Description

The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible. 

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 

50 hours total, one full work day per week.

To Express Interest 

Email a cover letter, resume and short writing sample to Susan Kruth, susan@thefire.org.

 

HIAS

Who can Participate 

All Students

Organization Website

http://hiaspa.org/ 

Description

The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible. 

HIAS Pennsylvania provides legal and supportive services to immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers from all backgrounds in order to assure their fair treatment and full integration into American society. One to two students are needed to assist refugees, asylees and other immigrants with adjustment of status (green card) applications. Students who can speak other relevant languages are preferred; the most commonly needed languages are Spanish, French, Arabic, Dari/Farsi, Pashto, Russian, Ukrainian, Swahili, Tigrinya and Urdu.

Time Commitment 

~12 hours a week with semester commitment. Year-long preferred.

To Express Interest 

Email Sarah Egoville, segoville@law.upenn.edu, with resume and letter of interest. 

 

 

Office of Councilmember Helen Gym

Who Can Participate 

All Students, legislation or local government courses are a plus but not required.

Description 

The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible. 

Philadelphia City Councilmember At-Large Helen Gym is seeking a student to provide policy and legal analysis during the Fall semester. Councilmember Gym’s priorities include equity in public education, passing “Fair Workweek” legislation to improve working conditions for Philadelphia service workers, reforming the 10 year tax abatement, and advancing a “Safely Home” initiative to stop sending Philadelphia youth to abusive institutional placements. Students can expect to perform research and memo-writing related to prospective and pending legislation, and attend occasional meetings and legislative sessions. Minimum commitment of 8 hours per week (one 8 hour day or two 4 hour days).

To Express Interest 

Interested students should send a resume and brief email explaining their interest in the pro bono opportunity to jennifer.kates@phila.gov.

 

Office of Disciplinary Counsel 

Who Can Participate 

All Students 

Description 

The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (ODC) seeks two pro bono interns interested in assisting with the investigation and prosecution of complaints of violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct.  The interns would be responsible, under the supervision of an assigned Disciplinary Counsel, for: reviewing complaints of lawyer misconduct; performing legal research; writing legal memoranda; drafting chronologies; preparing exhibits for hearings; memorializing witness interviews; and participating in discussions regarding the handling of complaints and hearing strategy.  Interns would be immersed into interesting fact patterns and be exposed to a wide variety of law, including criminal, immigration, bankruptcy, personal injury, and domestic relations. Please note, students must pass a criminal background check. 

To Express Interest 

Email your resume, unofficial transcript, and writing sample to Harriet R. Brumberg (Harriet.Brumberg@pacourts.us)

 

Office of Immigrant Affairs, City of Philadelphia

Who can Participate: 

2L and 3L students preferred.

Organization Website:  https://beta.phila.gov/departments/office-of-immigrant-affairs/

Description: 

This opportunity is likely to be NY Bar eligible.

This pro bono position would include policy work for the Office of Immigrant Affairs that includes work in the areas of Immigration Services Fraud – assistance with research and implementation, Municipal ID program, Public Charge and other policy issues that may arise.

Necessary Course Pre-requisites or Skills: Administrative law or policy classes preferred, but not required.

Anticipated Time Commitment:  A semester-long commitment of 10 hours per week.

To Express Interest: Please contact and send resume to Miriam Enriquez, Director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs, at Miriam.enriquez@phila.gov.

 

Penn Law Clinical Program

Who can Participate 

All Students 

Organization Website 

https://www.law.upenn.edu/clinic/ 

Description 

This opportunity is NOT NY Bar eligible.

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.

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.

 

Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts

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.

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. 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: ~10 hours per week.

To Express Interest

Email your resume, cover letter, and availability to Sarah Egoville, segoville@law.upenn.edu.

 

Public Citizens for Children and Youth

Who Can Participate

All Students

Organization Website

https://www.pccy.org

Description

This opportunity is pending NY Bar Pro Bono eligibility (please inquire with Sarah Egoville for additional details).

Students (1-2 per semester) will be expected to engage in general and legal research related to education law, healthcare issues facing children, early childhood education and child welfare.

Time Commitment: minimum 5 hours per week, work can be completely remotely at times but students are expected to also work in the office. This is a semester long commitment (and students may be asked to stay on an additional semester if working on a long-term project).

To Express Interest

Email your resume and letter of interest to Sarah Egoville, segoville@law.upenn.edu. Please address your cover letter to Tomea Sippio-Smith.

 

Public Interest Law Center

Who can Participate

All Students

Organization Website

www.pubintlaw.org

Description

The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible.

The Public Interest Law Center, a nonprofit organization focused on using high impact legal strategies to represent individuals and organizations challenging policies and practices that perpetuate discrimination, inequality and poverty, is looking for legal interns. Interns will research and write about diverse issues related to pending and future litigation. The Law Center is looking for students interested in poverty law, specifically related to its six subject areas: education, housing, environmental justice, employment, healthcare, and voting.

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

Email your resume and a brief letter of interest to Sarah Egoville, segoville@law.upenn.edu.

 

Reentry Court Program (STAR)

 

Who can Participate

3Ls who are eligible for certification for formal participation in legal matters under P.A. Bar 321 and 322.

Description

The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible.

Supervision to Aid Reentry (“STAR”) is an initiative of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that assists previously incarcerated federal prisoners, who live in Philadelphia, to successfully reenter the community. Students will receive pro bono credit and must make a year long commitment of 8-10 hours per week to the project. Part of that commitment includes participation in either Morning or Afternoon Reentry Court. Morning Reentry Court occurs every other Tuesday from 8:35am to 11:30am. Afternoon Reentry Court occurs every other Wednesday from 2:45pm to 6:15pm. Under the supervision of practicing attorneys, students will interview and counsel clients, draft pleadings, conduct fact investigations, and represent clients in court proceedings. Students will assist participants on legal matters, including challenging traffic citations and fines, obtaining/restoring driving privileges, establishing affordable payment plans for court costs and fines, waiving supervision fees, challenging default judgements entered while incarcerated, business planning/non-profit formation, obtaining no-fault divorces, and landlord/tenant disputes. The bulk of in-court student representation takes place in the Traffic Division of Philadelphia Municipal Court. This project comes with the opportunity to participate in an independent study and receive credit. If you are interested in this as an independent study, please reach out to Arlene Rivera Finkelstein, at arfinkel@law.upenn.edu as soon as possible.

Time Commitment

8-10 hours per week, one year commitment.

To Express Interest

Students interested are asked to provide a statement of interest no longer than one page (addressed to Maya Sosnov), an unofficial transcript, a resume, and the phone number of at least one reference. In the statement of interest, please explain your interest in Federal Reentry Court, any relevant skills or experiences, and indicate whether you would like to participate in Morning or Afternoon Reentry Court.

As this project has an early recruitment, please forward your application packet to Sarah Egoville, segoville@law.upenn.edu as soon as possible.

 

 

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 us in the our 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.

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

Email your resume and letter of interest to Sarah Egoville, segoville@law.upenn.edu.

 

 

School District of Philadelphia

Who can Participate 

All students

Organization Website 

https://www.philasd.org/

Description 

The work is likely to be New York Bar eligible. 

The School District of Philadelphia is the cornerstone provider of public education in Philadelphia. This opportunity allows students to be involved in preparing legal advice and providing representation to the School Reform Commission/Board of Education and the School District of Philadelphia and its employees on a wide array of legal matters. One to three students are needed and will be given assignments from across all practice areas and miscellaneous research or other projects as they arise. Practice areas include; special education, litigation, compliance and ethics, labor and employment and contracts/transactional. The District is willing to consider accommodating a student who has an  interest in a practice area, particularly special education and transaction work. (Transaction work will likely require a 1 year commitment.)

*Students will be required to submit to background checks and clearances. Previous pro bono work. Student may also need to engage in a conflicts check with previous or current pro bono work. Contact TPIC for guidance in navigating this process.

Time Commitment 

5-10 hours of work per week. It is possible that some of the work can be completed remotely. Semester or year long commitment.

To Express Interest 

Email your resume, unofficial transcript and cover letter addressed to Lynn Rauch, General Counsel (noting if you have a preferred practice area) to Sarah Egoville at segoville@law.upenn.edu.

 

   

SeniorLAW Center

There are FOUR different opportunities that are available. 

Who can Participate  

All Students  

Organization Website  

http://seniorlawcenter.org/  
 

Description  

All work is likely to be New York Bar eligible.  

 

Philadelphia Landlord-Tenant Court Lawyer of the Day Program:

This is a court- based program sanctioned by the Philadelphia Municipal Court and conducted by several public interest organizations. SeniorLaw Center staff attorneys are in court weekly representing tenants who come to court without counsel. Two students are needed to help conduct intake and review documentation for the SeniorLaw Center staff attorney covering the LOTD program each court date. There will be opportunities to observe cases if they go to trial. We ask that students commit to at least two shifts  per month (alternating weeks) throughout the semester.

Start date: as soon as possible. Students will be trained on their first day.

Available shifts: Tuesday afternoon 12:45-3pm, Wednesday morning 8:45-12pm, every other Monday morning 8:45-12pm.

 

To Express Interest  

Please email Sarah Egoville, segoville@law.upenn.edu, your resume. 

 

Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program:

This is a court-based partnership with the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Philadelphia Courts. SeniorLAW Center staff strategize with housing counselors and the senior homeowners they are helping, assess mortgage problems, and negotiate with lenders. Staff attorneys operate a “senior legal triage” every Thursday in City Hall, Courtroom 676. There are morning (9am-12:00pm) and afternoon (1pm-4pm) shifts each Thursday. Four students are needed to help staff the triage every Thursday and will assist seniors during the intake process and enter information in SeniorLAW Center’s online database. We ask that students commit to at least two Thursdays per month throughout the spring semester. Students are able to select either the morning or afternoon shift, or both if your schedule permits.

Start date: as soon as possible. Students will be trained on their first day.

To Express Interest  

Please email Sarah Egoville, segoville@law.upenn.edu, your resume. 

 

Assisting the SeniorLAW Director of Veterans, Kinship Care & Tenant Rights: 

One student is needed to assist the Director of the Program (Cateria McCabe, Esq.). The student will work closely with the director and requires that time be spent in the Senior Law Office as well as working remotely. It is anticipated that work will be 2-3 hours per week with at least a semester commitment. Tasks may include; research, client intake and conferences, client needs assessments, gathering resources and referrals for individual clients, following up with client and community partners, and attend meeting/outreaches with the Director. This is a fantastic opportunity for substantive work. 

To Express Interest  

Please email a cover letter and resume to Sarah Egoville, segoville@law.upenn.edu. A brief interview with the Senior Law Center will be scheduled. 

 

Assisting the SeniorLAW Homeowner Rights project:

One student is needed to assist the Director of the Program (Beth Shay, Esq.) by conducting legal research on housing and title issues, writing memorandum and creating power point presentations, interviewing seniors in order to complete insurance applications, property tax assistance applications, review medical records and draft supporting letters for mortgage foreclosure deferrals and assist with contacting heirs in probate matters.

The student will work closely with the director and requires that time be spent in the Senior Law Office as well as working remotely. It is anticipated that work will be 2-3 hours per week with at least a semester commitment.

One student is needed.

To Express Interest  

Please email a cover letter and resume to Sarah Egoville, segoville@law.upenn.edu. A brief interview with the Senior Law Center will be scheduled.