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Current Pro Bono Opportunities for Students

All ad hoc and pro bono project volunteer opportunities are listed below. This page is regularly updated as positions are filled and new ones become available. All opportunities listed here meet Penn Law’s pro bono eligibility guidelines. For information about New York Bar’s pro bono guidelines, please visit this page.

Spring 2014 Ad Hoc Pro Bono Opportunities

 

Organization: The Penn Law Gittis Center for Clinical Legal Studies

Opportunity: Penn Law’s legal clinics are looking for individuals who would be interested in volunteering their services as translators assisting clinic students in their interviews and meetings with clients who are limited English speakers. Students in the Civil Practice Clinic and the Transnational Legal Clinic can use translators who are fluent in many different languages.  This semester we have a special need for students who are fluent in Arabic, Spanish, French, and many other languages. These hours are eligible for Penn Law’s pro bono requirement but are not likely to count toward the New York Bar’s pro bono requirement. 

To express interest: Please email Tami Wilson, Client Coordinator, at wilsont@law.upenn.edu (and put VOLUNTEER TRANSLATOR in the e-mail Subject Line) as soon as possible. Also, if you volunteered last semester as a translator, and would like to continue this semester please e-mail Tami to let her know.  If you submitted a questionnaire last semester about your language translation skills, and were not contacted by the Clinic, but would still like to be kept on the list this semester please e-mail Tami to let her know that.

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Organization: ACLU Pennsylvania

Opportunity: The ACLU teamed up with the law firm of Kairys Rudovsky Messing & Feinberg to file suit against the Philadelphia police in November 2010, alleging that the department has a policy of stopping African American men without reasonable suspicion, and subjecting them to unjustified frisks.  As part of the settlement of this litigation, we are monitoring police practices, which requires us to analyze a few samples of the forms Philly police fill out when they make a stop — a few thousand, that is.  We need your help!

We are looking for law students to sign up for blocks of work time at the ACLU office at 5th and Market (easy commute on the subway!).  The minimum commitment is one 3 hour block per week until the end of the semester; there is no maximum unless we run out of work.  You must sign up for and stick to a schedule.  And you need to bring your own computer.

You will be analyzing stop forms (called 75-48a’s) to determine whether the officer identified a reasonable basis for the stop, and for any frisk that was performed.  You will put that data, along with the other data from the form, into a spreadsheet.  We will train you and supervise your work.

 To express interest: Please email Peter Baker (pbaker@aclupa.org). 

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Organization: AEquitas

Opportunity:  AEquitas is working in collaboration with Penn’s School of Nursing and the Wharton School to develop a comprehensive response to survivors of sexual exploitation that addresses: changing existing public attitudes through public awareness; identifying existing agencies to collaborate and cross-train; adding programs and projects that recognize gaps in existing services; creating sustainable alternatives to incarceration; creating diversion courts; developing long-term, safe housing; providing parenting classes and child care support; and the needs of the juvenile population. A critical component of the program includes legal support for participants. Aequitas looks forward to working with a student to ensure he/she has the skills and mentorship to provide multi-level legal support to program participants. The pro bono internship is well-suited for a student interested in pro bono work, human rights, criminal law, business, real estate, and international law, as the program’s proposed pilot sites are Philadelphia and South Africa. The intern will work on issues related to the legal and business issues involved in the program, particularly the identification and acquisition of real estate for short- and long-term housing.

To express interest:  Please send resume and letter of interest to Emily Sutcliffe (emilysut@law.upenn.edu).

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Organization: Ceiba

Opportunity: Ceiba has several research projects available for Penn Law students. Research topics are as follows:

  • Taxation and asset building issues for unauthorized immigrants
    • DREAM Act
    • Public Housing
    • Housing discrimination
    • Foreclosure issues, specifically tied to Philadelphia’s model Diversion Program

Ceiba is interested in having students work on very in-depth research projects for the spring semester, with a minimum commitment of 25 hours and an ideal commitment of 50 or more hours. Ceiba is looking for volunteers who have a significant interest in poverty law, specifically issues of immigration and/or housing.

To express interest: Send your resume and brief letter of interest to Emily Sutcliffe (emilysut@law.upenn.edu).

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Organization: Friends of Farmworkers

Opportunity: Friends of Farmworkers is looking for a pro bono intern who will work directly with staff attorneys on client cases. Internship will involve:

  •  Research and writing legal memoranda
  • Drafting complaints, pleadings, or briefs for filing with administrative bodies (OSHA, NLRB, EEOC, and state equivalents) and state and federal courts
  • Drafting demand letters to adverse parties
  • Conducting fact investigations over the phone or in person
  • Observing and participating in meetings with clients, advocacy organizations, governmental agencies
  • Conducting client intake
  • Participating in community outreach and education
  • Observing hearings or trials, depending on availability.
  • Intern will work 5-10 hours per week, mainly at the Friends of Farmworkers location

To express interest: Send your resume to Emily Sutcliffe (emilysut@law.upenn.edu).

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Organization: Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts

Opportunity: The organization is looking for a spring semester pro bono intern. The intern’s responsibilities will include:

  •  Updating PMC’s website, blog, and Facebook/Twitter with real-time court reform developments
  • Observing the legislative process, first-hand, as PMC lobbies for a Merit Selection bill
  • Accompanying staff to bar association meetings and other events, eventually representing PMC at meetings
  • Conducting legal research and writing on court reform issues in PA and nationally, such as judicial recusal guidelines and campaign spending reform

PMC is looking for a 2L or 3L intern who is interested in policy, has excellent research and writing abilities, and cares about improving our courts. An intern must be a self-starter.

To express interest: Please email staff@pmconline.org with a cover letter, resume, and availability. 

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Organization: Philadelphia Legal Assistance – Migrant Unit, Pennsylvania Farmworker Project

Opportunity: The pro bono legal intern’s primary responsibility will be to conduct legal research and writing to support the Project’s representation of low-wage immigrant farmworkers. Such legal research and writing will include drafting of memoranda, pleadings and motions for cases brought in administrative agencies as well as in state and federal courts. The intern will also assist the attorney and paralegal with all other facets of case work, including intake, client correspondence – oral and written – and evaluation of case facts and viability of claims. The intern will also create community education flyers and brochures about the legal rights of farmworkers for dissemination to the client community. The legal intern may also have opportunity to assist in the presentation of community legal education workshops. From time to time, s/he will also perform administrative tasks.

The pro bono intern must have excellent research, writing and organizational skills. Fluency or proficiency in Spanish is preferred, but not required.

To express interest: Please forward a cover letter and resume to Iris E. Coloma-Gaines, Esq. via email at iris@philalegal.org.

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Organization: Federal Reentry Court – STAR Program

Opportunity: Selected students will be asked to make a semester-long commitment and will be expected to attend court sessions every other Tuesday morning from 8 am to 10:30 am. There will also be a mandatory training session.

Volunteers will focus mostly on administering a fairly extensive legal social service intake form, researching legal issues identified in the intake sessions, and assisting probationers with resolution of those issues. Recent issues have included voter ID, bars to licensure, child support, Medicaid, and public housing.

To express interest: Please email Emily Sutcliffe (emilysut@law.upenn.edu) with a brief statement of interest which highlights your availability and semester-long commitment.

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Spring 2014 Pro Bono Project Opportunities

 

The following pro bono projects have volunteer opportunities for the spring semester. Each project has indicated its individual process for accepting volunteers. For information on all of TPIC’s pro bono projects, please visit: https://www.law.upenn.edu/publicservice/pro-bono/student-projects.php

Civil Rights Law Project (CRLP)

  •   Volunteer   opportunities available: Internship at the Pennsylvania Human Relations   Commission once a week, every week, for three hours.
  •   Number   of volunteers needed: 4
  •   Requirements   for participation: Must be willing to commit at least three hours each   week at a consistent time.
  •   How to   express interest: Please email degroote@law.upenn.edu and include a cover   letter explaining your interest in the internship and attach your resume
  •   Application   deadline: January 20, 2014 at 11:59pm

 

Criminal Records Expungement Project   (C-REP)

  •   Volunteer   opportunities available: The Pennsylvania Bar allows law students to get   court certified after they have completed three semesters of law school. This   allows students to go on the record and argue limited motions and petitions   under the supervision of an attorney. One of the best aspects of C-REP is   that 2Ls and 3Ls can conduct expungement and redaction hearings for our   clients.  It is a wonderful opportunity   to work on trial advocacy skills and to make a truly positive difference in   our clients’ lives.  For those   interested, we will work with you on getting your court certification,   training you, we will also conduct extensive moot exercises before the actual   hearings. We cannot make any guarantees that you will receive multiple or   even any court dates but we will work as hard as possible to make the experience   worthwhile for you.
  •   Number   of volunteers needed: 5-10
  •   Requirements   for participation: 2L or 3L
  •   How to   express interest: If this interests you, please contact Chesley Burruss,   C-REP Litigation Coordinator, at jburruss@law.upenn.edu
  •   Application   deadline:  Wednesday, January 22nd

 

Employment Advocacy Project (EAP)

  •   Volunteer   opportunities available: Advocates will have the opportunity to conduct   client intakes, phone consultations, in-person representation at hearings and   written appeals under the supervision of an attorney.
  •   Number   of volunteers needed: Up to 15
  •   Requirements   for participation: Advocates are expected to undergo a training session   in order to learn about the unemployment compensation system, representing clients   at hearings and writing appeals.
  •   How to   express interest: Email any of:    Daniel Wilson, dwilso@law.upenn.edu; Arianna Scavetti, ascav@law.upenn.edu; Besorah Won, besorahwon@law.upenn.edu;Katrina   Cohen, atrina.cohen@gmail.com
  •   Application   deadline: None

 

Environmental Law Project (ELP)

  •   Volunteer   opportunities available: There will be a regulatory comment project   taking place this spring, and there will be opportunities to be a part of the   team that writes a comment to be submitted into the public record. There will   also be several pro bono research opportunities available with organizations   like PILCOP, Friends of Farmworkers, Environmental Integrity Project, and   others. Details will be released on the ELP listserv as they become   available.
  •   Number   of volunteers needed: 15-20
  •   Requirements   for participation: An interest in environmental law is a plus.   Administrative law or an environmental law course may be useful. There is no   minimum hour commitment.
  •   How to   express interest: Contact the Chair of the Environmental Law Project,   Marie Logan, at elp.pennlaw@gmail.com or sign up on the ELP listserv by   visiting https://www.law.upenn.edu/probonoprojects/environmental/ and   clicking the sign-up link on the left side of the page.
  •   Application   deadline: None

 

Financial Literacy Project (FLP)

  •   Volunteer   opportunities available: Volunteer opportunities are available with the   VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program to help serve the greater   Philadelphia area.
  •   Number   of volunteers needed:  50+              
  •   Requirements   for participation: There is no need for prior experience or coursework in   tax.  All volunteers are required to   complete 5 volunteer sessions, with at least 2 of those sessions completed at   an underserved or CEIBA site.  All volunteers   are also required to complete either the Basic or Advanced Training. You   should register at the Campaign for Working Families (CWF) website as soon as   possible. The url is http://cwfphilly.volunteerhub.com/Events/Index. After   you complete registration, you can sign up for the Penn Law School Basic Tax   Training on Friday, January 17th from 9:30 AM – 1:30 AM (breakfast   will be served). If you have class at 1:00 or 1:30 on Friday, we will   probably be done the training by then, so please do not let that fact   discourage you from signing up. Returning volunteers can sign up for the Penn   Law School Advanced Tax Training on Friday, January 31st from   10:00 AM – 1:00 PM instead of the Basic Tax Training.   
  •   How to   express interest: Please email Drake Glesmann; drake.glesmann@law.upenn.edu
  •   Application   deadline: January 16th  

 

Health Law and Policy Project (HeLPP)

  •   Volunteer   Opportunities Available: Volunteering with ServiceLink to provide   assistance to patients in local clinics in obtaining public benefits. Preparing   and presenting information to share with community members regarding health   care reform through “Know Your Rights” clinics. Health policy research work   (memos & fact sheets).             
  •   Number   of volunteers needed: As many as are interested 
  •   Requirements   for Participation: Members of all classes are welcome and hours required   are flexible depending upon the project that the individual would like to   pursue.            
  •   How to   express interest: Potential volunteers who are not yet on our listserv   should send an email to pennlawhelpp@gmail.com to get more information.
  •   Application   Deadline: None

 

International Human Rights Advocates   (IHRA)

  •   Volunteer   opportunities available: IHRA will have several opportunities for   students to fulfill their service requirement through engaging in   International research and memo-writing for global human rights   organizations.
  •   Number   of volunteers needed: ~10                               
  •   Requirements   for participation: None
  •   How to   express interest: Email kagreen@law.upenn.edu; kathyng@law.upenn.edu; vernakr@law.upenn.edu
  •   Application   deadline: February 1st

 

Legal Education Partnership (LEP)

  •   Volunteer   opportunities available: We are looking for volunteers to help coach   Debate, Mock Trial, or work with Student Government at Boys Latin Charter   High School in West Philadelphia.
  •   Number   of volunteers needed: 10
  •   Requirements   for participation: The groups meet on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays   from 4-5.  Volunteers are asked to   attend at least once a week.  With   preparation, it amounts to between 2-3 hours per week.
  •   How to   express interest: No application is necessary.  We are looking for volunteers passionate   about education, teaching, and the community.    Prior experience is preferred, but in no way required.  Anyone interested is more than welcome to   volunteer.
  •   Application   deadline: None

 

Penn Housing Rights Project (PHRP)

  •   Volunteer   opportunities available: Volunteers will take on eviction cases of low   income tenants. They will be paired with another student and an attorney, and   will perform client interviews, materials/evidence gathering, negotiate with   the landlord or his/her attorney, and if they are certified may represent the   client in housing court. There will also be other research opportunities, as   well as anticipated work with a housing helpline.
  •   Number   of volunteers needed: Not limited.
  •   Requirements   for participation: No minimum hour or case commitment. Rather, when a   case or research opportunity is available an e-mail is sent to all of our   staff who can volunteer as their time/schedules allow.
  •   How to   express interest:  Please e-mail   contact@pennhousingrights.com. We will have a training session within the   next few weeks.
  •   Application   deadline: None

 

Reproductive Rights Law Project (RRLP)

  •   Volunteer   opportunities available: Volunteers can assist minors filling out their   judicial bypass petitions; provide clinical escorting through protest lines   to patients seeking reproductive health services, and conduct research for   the Women’s Law Project.
  •   Number   of volunteers needed: No upper limit.
  •   Requirements   for participation: Mandatory training (one hour) for judicial bypass   volunteers.
  •   How to   express interest: Please email Harper Seldin (hseldin@law.upenn.edu) with   your interest.
  •   Application   deadline: February 1st

 

Street Law

  •   Volunteer   Opportunities Available: Volunteers to teach 5th-8th   graders issues surrounding their constitutional rights. Topics covered   include First Amendment rights, stop and frisk policies, and the rights of   students in schools.       
  •   Number   of volunteers needed: 6    
  •   Requirements   for Participation: Must commit to teaching at least 1x/week for a minimum   of 45 minutes.
  •   How to   express interest: Please e-mail pennlawstreetlaw@gmail.com expressing   your interest in joining Street Law, and any prior experience teaching or   working with children. (Please Note: No prior teaching experience is   required!)      
  •   Application   Deadline: Tuesday, January 21 at 4 PM

 

Students Against Gender Based   Exploitation (SAGE) – Domestic Violence Assistance Project

  •   Volunteer   opportunities available: Participating in the Domestic Violence   Assistance Project is rewarding way to complete your required pro bono hours   on your on time, use your free time to give back to the Philadelphia   community, and learn about city and state laws that affect residents of   Philadelphia. Volunteers go to the downtown Philadelphia family courthouse   and competently provide assistance, in the form of legal information, to   low-income individuals who have filed petitions for Protection from Abuse   (PFA) and provide them with vital information about service of process,   preparation for the requisite hearing, the format of the hearing, proper   conduct during the hearing, and ways to address abuse both before and after   obtaining a PFA order.
  •   Number   of volunteers needed: 20                 
  •   Requirements   for participation: If you are interested in earning pro bono hours by   participating in the Domestic Violence Assistance Project this semester, you   must attend a training session on: January 24, 2014 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. in   Silverman 240A.  If you attend the   training, you are not locked into volunteering this semester. You can still   choose not to volunteer if you find that you are too busy. If you do not   attend this training, however, you will be barred from participating until   you attend a training session next semester.    If you plan to attend the training session, please e-mail Penn’s DVAP   coordinator, Marla Benedek, as soon as possible at the e-mail address listed   below. You must complete a security clearance form before you attend the   training. 
  •   How to   express interest: If you have any comments, questions, or concerns,   please contact Marla Benedek at mbenedek1205@gmail.com
  •   Application   deadline: January 24th

Students Against Gender Based   Exploitation (SAGE) – Aequitas Research

  •   Volunteer   opportunities available: SAGE partners with the non-profit organization,   Aequitas, to provide research assistance on projects that help to increase   victim safety and offender accountability by informing and refining   prosecutorial practices in the areas of sexual assault, domestic violence,   stalking and human trafficking.    Working on a SAGE-Aequitas research project is a great way to: Contribute   to innovative work on the prosecution of gender-based crimes; Earn a large   number of pro-bono hours on a flexible schedule; Learn from dynamic attorney   supervisors; Build your resume by producing a substantive piece of work.  About Aequitas: Aequitas is an organization   comprised of legal and medical experts whose mission is to improve the   quality of justice in sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, and human   trafficking cases by developing, evaluating, and refining prosecution   practices that increase victim safety and offender accountability. The   organization’s goal is to constantly develop innovative prosecutorial   practices that directly affect the way that justice professionals and all of   society respond to crimes involving violence against women.  Aequitas attorneys provide specialized   assistance including, but not limited to, case consultation, legal research,   identification of expert witnesses, recommendations for policy and protocol   development, responses to media inquiries, and peer review of articles and   other legal resources. In addition to providing technical assistance 24 hours   a day, Aequitas provides training and develops substantive resources related   to the investigation and prosecution of gender-based violence. Since its   creation in July 2009, Aequitas has provided technical assistance and   training to over 20,000 prosecutors and allied professionals in the United   States and over 100 countries. This semester, SAGE volunteers will be working   with Aequitas on two major research projects to create digests for the laws,   policies and practices around 1. SAFE (sexual assault forensic examination)   Kits, Holds, and Anonymous Testing  2.   Bail in sexual assault and domestic violence cases
  •   Number   of volunteers needed: 5-10
  •   Requirements   for participation: No requirements, though it may be helpful to have   taken Criminal Law and Evidence.  The   approximate time commitment is 20-30 hours over the course of the semester on   a flexible schedule.
  •   How to   express interest: Please email Audrey Banks at banksa@law.upenn.edu,   indicating preferred project.
  •   Application   deadline: January 24th

 

Urban Ventures Project

  •   Volunteer   opportunities available: UVP is looking for volunteers to teach our   entrepreneurial curriculum (basic principles of business, accounting, and   business law) to high school students in Philadelphia and to work with the   Curriculum Development Committee to refine our curriculum. No business   experience is necessary.
  •   Number   of volunteers needed: 4-6
  •   Requirements   for participation: Approximately 3 hours/week
  •   How to   express interest: Email Brian Springer (Bspri@law.upenn.edu) or Christian   Latham (Christian_Latham@law.upenn.edu) for more information.
  •   Application   deadline: None

 

Women’s Legal Assistance Project (WLAP)

  •   Volunteer   opportunities available: Represent clients in bail reduction hearings. Give   informational workshops to women regarding their public benefits, court   costs, and custody issues.
  •   Number   of volunteers needed: Bail hearings: 5/ Workshops: 10
  •   Requirements   for participation: Bail hearing work will require the student to be a   Certified Legal Intern, for which the student needs to have completed 3 terms   of school.
  •   How to   express interest: Email name, year, and likely availability throughout   the term to pam@law.upenn.edu.
  •   Application   deadline: None

 

Youth Courts

  •   Volunteer   opportunities available: Accepting volunteers to lead and assist in   classroom Youth Court trainings.
  •   Number   of volunteers needed: 2-4
  •   Requirements   for participation: No requirements.
  •   How to   express interest:  Email   bhoerner@law.upenn.edu
  •   Application   deadline: None

 

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