Pre-Approved Pro Bono Projects

The Pro Bono Department works diligently to offer pro bono opportunities each semester, and during school breaks. To view a list of the projects with additional details, log in at PB Track.

Students wishing to request projects must submit preferences via PB Track.

Spring 2017 projects

  • Access to Children’s Health Care:  Students will work under the supervision of Caroline Shurig (’15) of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago.  Students may choose to work on one of three projects: a) Children’s access to mental health care; b) SSI briefs on behalf of children with behavioral/mental health issues, scheduled to go to hearing next month; or c) Research closure of only Medicaid hospital some low income families.
  • ACLU Jails Project:  The ACLU Jails Project is seeking law student volunteers to assist with monitoring in Men’s Central Jail and Twin Towers in downtown LA.  If an inmate is identified as having been involved in violence that may support ACLU litigation, the volunteer will have the opportunity to call out the inmate to the attorney room for a statement, and a declaration will be prepared.
  • ACLU Orange County—In Office Volunteer:  The ACLU in Santa Ana is in need of 1-2 student volunteers to assist with casework in the area of criminal justice, including work on prosecutorial accountability issues. The student(s) would do legal research and writing, assist in fact development, and aid in policy advocacy and community engagement work.
  • Animal Legal Defense Fund Projects--Administrative Law Cause of Action for Failure to Adequately Regulate Hunting:  ALDF is working with a coalition of wildlife advocates in Wisconsin where hunting of coyotes and bear baiting is essentially unregulated. ALDF is working to compile claim memos of three potential avenues to address this awful situation: public trust doctrine, public nuisance, and administrative law.
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice—In Office Litigation Volunteer:  A volunteer is needed to assist AAAJ attorneys at their office in Downtown Los Angeles. The volunteer will assist with current litigation, including Visas for victims of human trafficking.
  • Bankruptcy Applications:  Students will assist self-represented debtors to complete and file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition.  Students will review the debtor’s eligibility for bankruptcy, collect the required paperwork and complete the debtor's Chapter 7 petition.
  • Bankruptcy Courthouse Volunteer:  Students volunteer at the Bankruptcy clinic at the Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana.  Volunteers must have had prior experience with Bankruptcy.  Volunteers will meet with pro se litigants, and provide advice on filing bankruptcy forms.
  • Bet Tzedek Law Clerk:  Volunteers will work in the office in one of the many direct service or impact litigation units:  Holocaust Survivors, Consumer Protection, Low-Income Tax Advocacy, Housing Conditions, Real Estate Fraud, Employment Rights, Family/Caretaker, Conservatorship, Elder Abuse Restraining Orders, Public Benefits, Guardianship, and Impact Litigation.
  • Bet Tzedek Legal Intakes:  Students assist with intakes, which involve interviewing clients over the phone regarding their legal issues.  Volunteers would significantly improve their client interview skills while also learning to issue-spot important and often varied legal needs.
  • Camp Pendleton Legal Assistance Office (LAO):  Students will provide legal assistance to military officers, enlisted service members, and their families in the areas of family law, consumer law, estate planning, and various other issues. 
  • CARES— Connecting Angelenos to Resources and Essential Services:  CARES advocates routinely arrange for homeless individuals to receive shelter they would not otherwise have received, and assist indigent individuals in obtaining food and nutrition.  Students assist clients with emergency benefits advocacy, particularly relating to shelter, food, health, transportation, and other social service needs. 
  • Child Custody & Support Clinic:  Assist clients of the Legal Aid Society of OC on modifications of child custody, support, and requests for move-way orders.   You will also have the opportunity to discuss these cases with seasoned attorneys, and learn about relevant laws and requirements.
  • Coastkeeper Volunteer:  Legal issues focused on protecting the water quality in this area.  A committed student volunteer will work at the Coastkeeper office providing legal research in areas of environmental permitting, review upcoming legislation, and possibly draft comment letters in response to permitting requests or local, environmental regulations.
  • Civil Rights Intake and Complaint Drafting Project:  Assist the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing to process complaints filed by employees alleging civil rights violations.  Students will have a client call, followed by notes and a recommendation on whether the complaint meets elements required to bring a claim, and reasons to accept or deny the matter.
  • Consumer Law Project:  Students will assist low income clients who have been victims of consumer fraud by conducing detailed phone interviews and developing thorough case profiles and document development.  Volunteers will determine the viability of the case for pro bono placement with Public Counsel.
  • Criminal Defense Research for Colorado PD:  Student volunteers are needed to research all level of criminal cases, from trial to appeal, for Colorado Public Defender, Nicholas James (’16).  Volunteers will research and draft pre-trial motions such as motions to suppress, compose memos for trial, assist with special projects such as appeals or bond litigation. 
  • Criminal Justice Court Watch: A coalition of local organizations, coordinated by the National Lawyer’s Guild, have come together to ensure accountability in our local criminal justice system and protect defendant’s Constitutional rights. This project focuses on Brady evidence.
  • Criminal Justice Research:  Students use the information collected by the Criminal Court Watch participants to prepare a research memo to be used by the coalition of THE PEOPLE to advocate for greater accountability in the Criminal Courts system in Orange County. 
  • Criminal Law Projects in Orange County:
    • Alternate Public Defender’s Office Research: The “Alt PD” is a smaller unit of the Orange County Public Defender’s Office, taking on cases that are conflicts for the main PD’s office. One student will research recent developments in Second Amendment law and its overlap with criminal law.
    • Criminal Appellate Work: An opportunity for three students to work with the Writs and Appeals unit of the OC Public Defender’s office. The students will have the opportunity to assist in the research and writing of appeals as well as writs of habeas corpus.
    • District Attorney’s Office: Students may get significant exposure to issues of evidence and criminal procedure while observing in court, researching and writing, and possibly assisting with preparation for in-court appearances by a Deputy District Attorney.
    • Federal Public Defender’s Office Research: Assist trial and capital habeas attorneys with the Federal Public Defender's Office. Work will include researching and drafting for active cases and/or recurring issues, as well as drafting motions, sentencing positions, and other court filings.
    • Public Defender’s Office: Volunteers will help interview clients, assist with arraignments, and possibly help in the preparation of a misdemeanor trial and expungement petitions.
  • Developmentally Delayed Children’s Long Beach Conservatorship Project: Bet Tzedek Legal Services provides weekly assistance to low income families, who are seeking Conservatorships of their family members in order to make important legal decisions on their behalf. Without a conservatorship, these decisions default to the government.
  • Disabled and Elderly Benefits (SSI): Volunteers help secure Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for elderly and disabled clients. Attorneys and students will work together to help clients navigate the complicated SSI appeals process, and may have the opportunity to represent a client at an Administrative hearing.
  • Domestic Violence Clinic—Long Beach: The Legal Aid Foundation of Los needs volunteers to staff the Domestic Violence Clinic in Long Beach. Students will work with survivors of domestic violence in restraining order and other family law proceedings.
  • Domestic Violence Declarations—Orange County: Students will volunteer at the courthouse in Orange, assisting self-represented clients to prepare declarations for their Temporary Restraining Orders. Students conduct an interview, and immediately prepare a declaration.
  • Education Rights Project:  Volunteers will provide Know-Your-Rights workshops and intakes for low-income families throughout Orange County. Students will assist with IEP’s and other requests of school districts throughout the area.
  • Education Rights—In Office Volunteers:  The Learning Rights Law Center’s mission is to ensure equitable access to public education for all students.  Students will travel to LRLC’s office near downtown Los Angeles to volunteer at least ½ day per week, likely conducting intakes.
  • Elder Abuse Restraining Orders: Volunteers will assist Friday mornings 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and Tuesday mornings 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at this clinic to protect seniors and dependent adults from abuse and neglect or assist those responding to allegations of abuse allegations. Abuse can include physical, mental, financial or neglect. Attorneys from O’Melveny and Myers LLP will provide direct supervision.
  • Environmental Law Research—Defend Against Rollbacks:  In the wake of potential threats that the government poses to our environment, the Center for Biological Diversity is in need of a student to support legal research and campaigning efforts to defend against environmental rollbacks and damaging projects and policies. This role will require intensive research.  Attorney Jean Su (’12) will supervise.  
  • Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project #1—Asylum Research for Clients with Mental Health Issues:  Esperanza represents adults that have been determined to be mentally incompetent to represent themselves in their immigration proceedings, submitting asylum, withholding of removal, or convention against torture applications on their behalf. Law Students will research country conditions to support these applications. 
  • Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project #2—Community Education Programs:  The newest community education program assists anyone in removal proceedings at the Los Angeles Immigration Court.  Volunteers will provide support and education each week.
  • Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project #3—Direct Representation:  Esperanza provides direct representation to hundreds of vulnerable immigrants in removal proceedings every year, including unaccompanied children.  UCI Law Students will work on cases under the close supervision of the attorneys. Students will conduct research, write briefs, meet with clients and go to court.
  • Eviction Assistance for San Francisco Area Individuals with AIDS & HIV:  A student volunteer will work with housing attorneys with the AIDS Legal Referral Panel in S.F., including Zeenat Hassan (’13), to draft Memoranda of Points and Authorities to be used in trial briefs for eviction cases.
  • Expungement Project—Orange County Clean Slate Clinic:  An expungement allows an individual that has completed their sentence to dismiss or reduce certain criminal convictions, allowing them to seek jobs that would otherwise not be available. Clean Slate also assists with applications for Certificate of Rehabilitation, Responses to a DA Opposition, Motions for Reconsideration, and Juvenile Sealing.
  • Family Law at Public Law Center:  Work with attorneys Solange Rousset (’15) and Petra Moreno of PLC on a variety of family law issues for low-income clients.  Assist with intake and prepare for various clinics (domestic violence and guardianship for children).
  • Haiti Human Rights Initiative:  Student volunteers help the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti with two accountability projects against the United Nations.  First is a lawsuit currently before the U.S. 2nd Circuit against the UN for their gross negligence in introducing cholera in Haiti. The second involves accountability for UN peacekeepers accused of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) against Haitian women and girls. 
  • Health Consumer Action Center:  This is a specialized unit of the Legal Aid Society that is involved with policy advocacy, and assists low-income clients to access health care and solve serious issues clients may have with their medical insurance.  Students will immediately begin speaking with clients, interviewing them to get additional information and assist with their health care related issues. 
  • Health Law Intakes for HIV/AIDS, Cancer and Children’s Hospital Patients:   A student volunteer will work under the supervision the Public Law Center to conduct in-person and telephone intakes with clients who are suffering from HIV/AIDS, cancer, mental health issues, or may have been referred by CHOC Children’s Hospital or a community clinic. 
  • Homeless Court:  Student volunteers will interact with the Homeless Court, other collaborative partners, and provide direct services to the Homeless Community in a variety of legal areas.   
  • Homeless Outreach Clinic—Santa Ana Civic Center:  Volunteers will assist the community of individuals that live on the sidewalks and grassy areas around the Civic Center.  Individuals need help with family law issues, camping citations, benefits, and a variety of other issues.
  • Hotel/Food Service Worker Project—Union Labor Work:  UNITE HERE Local 11 represents Southern California hotel workers. Students may represent members in grievance and arbitration proceedings; File unfair labor practice charges to the NLRB; Research and formulate legal strategy to support organizing campaigns; and protect members' free speech rights.  
  • Housing Impact Litigation:  Student volunteers work on active litigation cases of the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, including issues of land use discrimination, fair housing discrimination, relocation assistance, Section 8 advocacy, and code enforcement issues. 
  • Immigration Assistance for Undocumented Anteaters & Family Members:  Assist undocumented students at UCI, and family members who are undocumented in two areas.  1) Spousal petitions to become a legal permanent resident.  2) Screen UCI undergraduates and family members who are undocumented for various forms of immigration relief. 
  • Innocence Project Collaboration:  Students assist the California Innocence Project in reviewing requests for representation under the supervision of attorneys from K&L Gates LLP.  Some cases may focus on researching issues related to forensics, while others may require students to contact family members or the inmate for additional information.  Students may need to investigate the whereabouts of transcripts, reports, or other court documents. 
  • Innocence Rights of Orange County:  Attorney Annee Della Donna is in need of student volunteers to assist in preparing a California Supreme Court brief and a Writ of Habeas Corpus.  The project involves two men, convicted for allegedly shooting up in the air near a house where 11 people were living.  The key witness has recanted.  Research will involve case law discussing the theory of the “kill zone.”
  • International Refugee Assistance Project #1—Casework: IRAP assists refugees from many Middle Eastern countries and parts of Africa, providing legal assistance for refugees seeking resettlement from abroad.  Students work under the supervision of attorneys from several firms, including Irell & Manella LLP; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP; Hueston Hennigan LLP; Microsoft; Jones Day; Payne & Fears LLP; Polsinelli LLP Sheppard, Mullin, Richter, and Hampton LLP; and R & S Law Group LLP.
  • International Refugee Assistance Project #2—Intakes:  Students will assist IRAP national by completing intake calls with highly vulnerable individuals from Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, and Afghanistan just to name a few.  IRAP will provide language translation when needed as well as access to Skype and/or Google Voice for making calls. 
  • Korean Legal Services and Outreach/Litigation Unit:  Volunteering with the Legal Aid Society of Orange County to assist Korean-speaking clients. Matters may include:  Health related cases including Medi-Cal and insurance qualifications, medical billing issues; Family law; Housing and landlord/tenant issues; Government benefits; and Consumer problems.  
  • Legal Services Clinics—Civil, Family Law, or Collections:  Only 1 in 10 of the poorest members of our community will actually receive legal aid services that they desperately need.  Students can assist by volunteering at clinics to assist with a) Civil discovery and motions; b) Family law; or c) Collections.
  • Litigation Assistance:  Attorneys from Irell & Manella LLP are working on several pro bono litigation matters.  One student may assist with any of the following: legal research and memo writing, discovery, drafting pleadings, or even observing a hearing. 
  • Litigation Services for the Poor: This is a great opportunity to learn the nuts and bolts of litigation practice. Volunteers will have the opportunity to work in landlord-tenant, family law, tax, and many other areas of law with Yolanda Omana of the Legal Aid Society of OC.
  • Long Beach Medical Legal Partnership for Children and Families: The MLP is an alliance between the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and the Long Beach Children’s Clinic that recognizes that medically vulnerable families may need legal services to be healthy just as much as they need medical care.  The MLP provides assistance with a variety of poverty law issues, including housing, consumer, immigration, employment, government benefits and family law. 
  • NAACP Legal Defense Fund Hot Topics Research:  Student volunteers will work with attorneys from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP to prepare regular reports for LDF on “hot topic” cases.  Student volunteers will run searches, review results, and summarize cases. 
  • NAACP Legal Defense Fund Education Research:  A student volunteer will work with attorneys from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP to research education issues for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. 
  • NAACP Legal Defense Fund Supreme Court Nominee Review:  Volunteers will help Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in researching and analyzing potential Supreme Court nominees to determine their approach to areas that are most critical to LDF’s mission, including discrimination, education equality, LGBTQ rights, criminal justice, and political participation.  
  • Poverty Law Clinics with Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles:  Students can participate in monthly clinics hosted at various sites in Los Angeles County.  During clinics, students may observe and support volunteer attorneys, or may be permitted to conduct interviews. 
  • Saturday Academy of Law (SAL): Law students work alongside certified teachers from  Santa Ana and Anaheim school districts in this pipeline program for ninth graders.  Volunteers teach lessons on the First Amendment, briefing a case, the U.S. court system, and recent constitutional challenges that have made impacts on society.
  • SCOTUS Amicus Summaries—Education Law:  Volunteers are needed to read and summarize the arguments in the various amicus briefs of a pending education case, Endrew F. vs. Douglas County School District, which is looking at the level of education schools must provide children with disabilities.  This entails reading briefs for the case and then reading the amicus briefs, and drafting short summaries.
  • Self Help Centers in Long Beach, Inglewood, or Torrance:  The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles needs volunteers to staff the self-help center at one of its four Superior Courthouse locations.  Students will get hands-on experience with individuals that are representing themselves in legal actions primarily in eviction defense and family law
  • Tax Advocacy for Low-Income Taxpayers:  Each student will be responsible for developing his or her own IRS tax case, working directly with tax clients, the IRS, and potentially arguing in U.S. Tax Court under the supervision of Renato Izquieta of the Legal Aid Society of Orange County.
  • Transactional and Corporate Law Project:  Students will work in-office with Sarah Efthymiou of the Public Law Center assisting non-profits and small businesses.  Needs vary, and may include the following:  Intellectual Property matters such as copyright and trademark; taxation and compliance; review of a non-profit’s website; non-profit formation; or employment issues.
  • Transgender Legal Name and Gender Change Project: The project serves the legal needs of the transgender population in Southern California.  Volunteers fill out the legal forms under the guidance of volunteer attorneys to assist clients with applications for legal name and/or gender marker changes.  The project serves clients of the LGBT Center OC (The Center) in Santa Ana. 
  • UCI Med School/Law School Collaboration:  The Project is a collaboration between students from UC Irvine's law school and medical school to provide a venue for clients to receive free treatment for medical issues, diagnose legal issues, and be connected to legal resources. Law students will have the opportunity to have direct client contact during intake interviews at one of the many Saturday free clinics.
  • VA Benefits Project:  Students will assist Veterans seeking relief in the US Court of Appeals for Veterans benefit claims. The project will be supervised by Sean Twomey of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.  UCI Law students will be handling these cases through appeal including briefing legal issues for the Court. 
  • Veterans Casework with PLC:   Assist low income Veteran clients at the Public Law Center with a variety of cases, particularly focusing on veteran’s benefits and discharge upgrades. Students will work with individual veteran clients to investigate cases, collect supporting evidence and draft documents for submission to the VA and to the discharge review boards.
  • Veterans Court Volunteer:  Legal Aid Society of Orange County (LASOC) is a collaborative partner of the Orange County Community Court. Student volunteers will have the opportunity to interact with the Veterans Court, and to provide direct services to the Veteran’s Community. 
  • Veterans Legal Institute:  VLI provides pro bono legal assistance to homeless, at risk, disabled and low income current and former service members to eradicate barriers to housing, healthcare, education, and employment and foster self-sufficiency.  Volunteers will assist in providing legal services, as well as research and write scholarship on military policy.
  • Victims of Crime Special Visas (U-Visa):  Students will work in pairs and will be supervised by attorneys from Snell & Wilmer LLP and McDermott Will & Emery LLP in preparing U-Visa requests for victims of crime, who have cooperated with law enforcement in the investigation related to their victimization.  Most clients are women and children that have suffered physical or sexual abuse by a family member or intimate partner. 
  • Wage Justice Center—In Office Volunteers:  WJC provides justice to exploited workers, collecting well over $3,000,000 of back wages and penalties in cases where others had long written off any possibility of collection—cases involving highly unscrupulous business activity that is rampant in the underground economy.  Students are needed to volunteer at the WJC office 2-3 hours/week.
  • Wage Theft Clinic:  Volunteers will engage in a variety of legal work to protect low wage workers, including day laborers and other vulnerable communities.  Students may engage in fact investigation, identifying assets, prepare for a debtor examination to identify assets, file forms for bank levies and wage garnishment, and in some cases assist with affirmative litigation. 
  • Workers Rights Clinic Orange County:  Student volunteers will participate in employment law intake clinics for low-income workers in a wide range of areas, including discrimination/harassment, wage and hour, unemployment benefits, and wrongful termination.  Mike Gaitley of the Legal Aid at Work, based in San Francisco, will regularly travel to Orange County to provide training and supervision. 
  • Workers’ Rights Project with Bet Tzedek:  Bet Tzedek Legal Services represents low-wage workers, regardless of immigration status, who are asserting claims for unpaid wages and unlawful working conditions.  Volunteers will interview potential clients at walk-in clinics.
  • Youth Health Care and Education Policy Research:  Young Invincibles mobilizes and expands opportunities for young Americans between 18 and 34 years of age.  Volunteers will research issues related to health care and higher education.  Research may include current legal issues such as proposed changes in the law as well as proactive research about upcoming issues facing America’s youth.