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Student Pro Bono Projects  

  • Student projects form the core of Penn Law’s pro bono experience by offering unique leadership and practical opportunities while helping under-served populations.

    The following pro bono projects are accepting new volunteers for the spring semester:

    Please contact the student leaders listed above to express interest. 

     

    Many projects incorporate a cross-disciplinary focus as Penn Law students work with graduate students across campus. A few examples include the Penn Law Advocates for the Homeless, which works closely with students from Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice, and our law-related education programs, which collaborate with the Graduate School of Education. The law school currently has 31 student projects divided into six practice areas:

     

All organizations
 
Animal & Environmental Civil & Political Rights Criminal Justice Economic Justice Education Global
  • Criminal Record Expungement Project (CREP)

    C-REP provides services to individuals seeking to expunge non-conviction records in Philadelphia County. Volunteer attorneys and law students host community clinics and provide legal counsel through all stages of the expungement process, including representing clients before the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia. C-REP also educates the public and the legal community on the expungement process and advocates for criminal record policy reform.


  • Domestic Violence Assistance Project (DVAP)

    SAGE serves survivors of domestic violence, rape, sexual exploitation and other forms of gender-based violence. Students provide legal resources to individuals seeking emergency protective orders at two filing sites in Philadelphia. They give information regarding preparation of pro se petitions for permanent protective orders against abusive partners. Students also participate in legal trainings, including training on civil protection orders and domestic violence law, interviewing workshops for working with trauma survivors, and crisis intervention trainings for suicidal clients. Partner organizations are Philadelphia Legal Assistance, Women’s Law Project, and Evelyn Jacobs Ortner Center on Family Violence.

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  • James Wilson Project (JWP)

    On October 6, 1787, James Wilson, one of only six founders to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, delivered a highly regarded and influential speech in Philadelphia “to explain and elucidate the principles and arrangements of the [C]onstitution.” Considered among the most gifted legal minds and orators of his day, Wilson continued explaining and promoting the Constitution when the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania) appointed him as the first professor of law in 1790. The James Wilson Project allows Penn Law students to carry on Wilson’s tradition of explaining and promoting the Constitution in Philadelphia. JWP volunteers teach local high school students about their constitutional rights and responsibilities. Volunteers also prepare students for a moot court competition by helping the students draft oral arguments and coaching them to deliver the arguments. The project’s goals are to teach urban high school students about the U.S. Constitution and their constitutional rights, connect the students to Philadelphia’s history as the site of the Constitutional Convention, and help them improve their critical thinking and oral advocacy skills.

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  • Leaders in Education Advocacy and Reform Network (LEARN)

    L.E.A.R.N. is and interdisciplinary organization that seeks to create a forum for graduate students interested in improving the quality of education in America’s schools. We aim to foster dialogue about pressing issues, increase knowledge of and access to career opportunities, and engage students in service opportunities in the field of education law and policy. L.E.A.R.N. is based at Penn Law, and draws students from the Wharton School, the Graduate School of Education, and the Fels Institute of Government.

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  • Legal Education Partnership (LEP)

    The Legal Education Partnership provides comprehensive support to the students and community at the Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia Charter School. The partnership is mutually beneficial, providing a place for community activism for the law students while also providing the high school with academic support, aspiration building programs, and legal resources. Activities include mock trial, debate, teen court, and student government coaching.

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  • Pardon Project

    The Penn Law Pardon Project is dedicated to empowering formerly convicted persons to become change agents in their lives by providing legal aid and education on the Pardon process in Pennsylvania. Despite having already paid for their crimes in jail time, court costs, and bail fees, formerly convicted persons continue to face discrimination in pursuing employment, furthering their education, accessing public housing, and exercising their right to vote. The only way to remove a felony or non-summary misdemeanor conviction from a record in Philadelphia is by receiving a pardon from the Governor. The pardon process is long and requires an extensive application process including several essays describing the conviction, the circumstances surrounding it, and why the applicant is requesting a pardon. In partnership with X-Offenders for Community Empowerment, the Pardon Me project provides free direct legal services to individuals seeking to apply for a pardon.

    Volunteer law students assist individual applicants on his/her pardon application, acting as a guide throughout the entire process. Students conduct intake sessions at local area pardon clinics run by X-Offenders for Community Empowerment, and work individually with select applicants on the rest of the pardon application. In addition to providing direct legal services, the Pardon Me project also educates the public and the legal community on the pardon process and advocates for criminal record policy reform.

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  • Penn Law Advocates for the Homeless

    Penn Advocates for the Homeless provide legal support to attendees of the weekly University City Hospitality Coalition Wednesday night soup kitchen. The volunteers help connect clients with important public assistance and resolve a range of legal issues. The project works in collaboration with the Philadelphia Homeless Advocacy Project.

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  • Prisoners’ Education and Advocacy Project (PEAP)

    The Prisoners’ Education and Advocacy Project (PEAP) promotes efficient self-advocacy among prisoners while fostering a better understanding of prisoners’ issues among law students. PEAP participants teach several weekly classes in the Philadelphia prison system and volunteer with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project.

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  • Project PEACE

     Project PEACE (Peaceful Endings through Attorneys, Children, and Educators) is an engaging pro bono initiative which focuses on reducing violence and conflicts in schools. The program was implemented in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office in 1999. Through a close partnership with Martha Washington Elementary School, Project PEACE visits the school’s sixth grade class on a weekly basis to lead courses on mediation and positive means to manage conflict. The goal of Project PEACE is to continuously expose students to an array of conflict resolution methods. 


  • Street Law

    The Street Law Project takes a fun and creative approach to providing legal education within the Philadelphia public schools. Volunteers design and teach a curriculum to middle school students addressing constitutional issues and social justice, thereby empowering students to exercise their rights and inspiring them to think critically about the law.

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  • Urban Ventures Project (UVP)

    The Urban Ventures Project partners with area schools and enhances the academic experience of urban youths by helping them to turn their entrepreneurial ideas into action. The UVP gives students a solid foundation for entrepreneurship by guiding them from the business planning stage to the implementation stage.

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  • Youth Courts

    Teens who have had behavioral infringements at school will have the opportunity for their cases to be tried by their peers. This project seeks to introduce young people to the legal system—and their potential roles in that system, while serving as a platform of expression and a deterrent for future infractions.

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