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 2015 projects

  • ACLU Jails Project:  Student volunteers 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.
  • Animal Legal Defense Project:  The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is dedicated to protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system.  Student volunteers are needed to conduct research and prepare memos or assist in drafting documents for litigation.
  • Bankruptcy Applications:  Students are needed to assist self-represented debtors complete and file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  All work will be conducted under the supervision of local bankruptcy attorneys, including from Irell & Manella LLP, on cases referred by the Public Law Center.
  • Bankruptcy Courthouse Volunteer:  Students are needed to volunteer at the Bankruptcy clinic at the Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana to meet with pro se litigants, and provide bankruptcy advice under the supervision of the Public Law Center.
  • Bet Tzedek Client Intake:  Bet Tzedek Legal Services (“House of Justice”) handles both direct service and impact litigation matters in Los Angeles.  Students are needed to assist with intakes, which involve interviewing clients, usually over the phone, regarding their legal issues.
  • Bet Tzedek Law Clerk:  An in depth experience with one of the top legal service providers in the country volunteering in one of the many direct service or impact litigation units including Bankruptcy, Housing, Employment Rights, Family/Caretaker, Holocaust Survivors, Healthcare, or Seniors.
  • Bet Tzedek State and Federal Tax Advocacy:  Under the direct supervision of attorneys, volunteers will work directly with clients.  The work may involve intake interviews, representing clients in appeals conferences, negotiating offers in compromise, gathering and submitting identity theft affidavits, and other tax-related administrative processes.
  • 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:  The Project takes place at Department of Public Social Services (“DPSS”) offices in Los Angeles County.  Students assist clients with emergency benefits advocacy, particularly relating to shelter, food, health, transportation, and other social service needs.
  • Conservatorship Project Courthouse Volunteers:  Students are needed to assist at weekly clinics to assist self-represented families that are requesting a conservatorship of a severely developmentally delayed child.
  • Consumer Law Project:  Students will work with Public Counsel to assist low income clients who have been victims of consumer fraud.  Volunteers develop detailed and accurate case profiles through client interviews and document development to determine the viability of the client’s case for pro bono placement.
  • Criminal Law Projects:  Three opportunities are available for students to work on criminal law cases:
    • District Attorney’s Office:  Second and third-year law students interested in criminal prosecution will get hands-on experience with the DA’s office in Santa Ana.  Students may get significant exposure to issues of evidence and criminal procedure while researching and writing, and possibly assisting with case preparation.
    • Public Defender’s Office/West Justice Center:  Students will work in teams with Felony and Misdemeanor public defenders on all aspects of office assignments as well as accompanying attorneys to court.
    • Alternate Public Defender’s Office:  The “Alt PD” is a smaller unit of the Orange County Public Defender’s Office, taking on cases that the main PD’s office cannot take, often due to conflicts.  Volunteers will conduct research and assist with direct legal assistance.
  • Disabled and Elderly Benefits (SSI)—Intake Clinic & Follow-up:  Volunteers assist some of the most vulnerable clients under the supervision of Legal Aid Society of Orange County attorney, Bill Wise.  Volunteers work to secure Social Security Income benefits for the clients, providing a living stipend and medical benefits.
  • Domestic Violence Clinic—Long Beach:  The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) is in need of volunteers to staff the Domestic Violence Clinic in the Long Beach Superior Court.
  • Domestic Violence Declarations:  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.  Supervision will be provided by attorney volunteers.
  • Education Rights Clinic:  The Learning Rights Law Center is working with UCI Law to expand education legal services to Orange County.  Attorneys from LRLC will supervise UCI Law students doing education law intakes at monthly clinics assisting families of special education students.
  • Education Rights Project—In Office Volunteers:  The Learning Rights Law Center is a nonprofit legal services agency whose mission is to ensure equitable access to public education for all students.  Volunteer students will be trained and supervised by Jessica Toth, Director of Pro Bono and Brief Services, volunteering at the LRLC office in LA.
  • Elder Abuse Restraining Orders:  Volunteers are needed to assist at this new clinic to protect seniors and dependent adults from abuse and neglect, which often includes financial abuse and other legally complicated issues.  Attorneys from O’Melveny and Myers LLP will provide direct supervision.
  • Esperanza Immigrant Rights Projects:  Esperanza works exclusively with immigrants being held in custody—both adults and children.  Esperanza offers several volunteer opportunities:
    • Assisting attorneys with their casework in many facets of criminal immigration law and procedure
    • Working with immigrant children being held at the Crittenton Shelter in Fullerton, who are in removal proceedings and are considered “unaccompanied minors”
    • Providing weekly summaries of all 9th Circuit immigration decisions
  • Eviction Defense Project:  Students will work with Legal Aid lawyer, Crystal Sims, on unlawful detainer (eviction) cases.  In addition to document collection, discovery, and settlement negotiation, students will work directly with clients and, if certified, may argue in court if the case goes to trial.
  • Expungement Projects:  Expungements allow individuals that have completed their sentence to dismiss certain criminal convictions if particular requirements are met, allowing them to move on with their lives.
    • Orange County:  Student volunteers will be part of an effort to hold monthly expungement clinics in Orange County, supervised by attorney Dan Cornelious, and hosted at the Legal Aid Society of Orange County one Saturday per month.
    • San Diego:  Clinics are held in San Diego on the first Saturday of each month.
  • Family Law at Public Law Center:  Assist with intake and prepare for various clinics (domestic violence, guardianship for children and dissolution), and assist with custody, visitation, and dissolution for victims of domestic violence.
  • Family Law Clinics & Low Income Civil Assistance:  Students work with the Legal Aid Society of Orange County to assist low-income Orange County residents with all of their family law needs and some civil legal issues.  Volunteers help preparing petitions, pleadings, declarations, letters, and assisting with legal forms.
  • Finish My Divorce Workshop:  PLC trained students at this courthouse–based workshop will help people with learning disabilities, language barriers and literacy issues who are having a hard time navigating the family court system.
  • Guardianships:  Students will work with attorneys from Paul Hastings LLP to assist caretakers seeking probate guardianships of minor children that are in their care.  Students will interview the caretakers, prepare the guardianship forms, and observe the supervising attorney at the hearing.
  • Haiti Human Rights Initiative:  Two student volunteers are needed to work with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti with legal research and writing for a legal report concerning a range of civil and political issues in Haiti, including elections, access to legal remedies and corruption.
  • Health Consumer Action Center:  Student volunteers are need to assist this specialized unit of the Legal Aid Society of Orange County (“LASOC”) that is involved with policy advocacy and also assists low-income clients in Orange County to access health care coverage services, and solve serious issues clients may have with their medical insurance.
  • HIV Law & Policy Project:  Volunteers are needed to support the Los Angeles HIV Law & Policy Project by volunteering office in downtown Los Angeles conducting intakes with callers and providing appropriate information, education, resources, and referrals.
  • Homelessness Project with ACLU:  Law student(s) will volunteer at the ACLU’s Santa Ana office with a variety of research tasks pertaining to the criminalization of homelessness and availability of housing and mental health services.
  • Hotel/Food Service Worker Project:  UNITE HERE Local 11 is a progressive labor union.  Students will help with filing unfair labor practice charges to the NLRB, protecting members’ free speech rights at picket lines, and representing members at grievance and arbitration hearings.
  • Housing and Communities Workgroup (Community Economic Development):  Volunteers will work with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) to improve the housing situation for its client communities through direct representation, impact litigation, policy work, and community-based campaigns.
    • Affordable Housing Preservation:  Research and analysis on multiple campaigns centered on preserving affordable housing and combatting the displacement spurred by unchecked development and rising home prices.
    • Southeast Communities Environment and Health Project:  Provide analysis and research support for the Community Alternative (CA-7), which is a health promoting and environmental protection project alternative.
    • Language Access Policy Project:  Providing policy analysis and research support to proposals for strengthening language access throughout LAFLA’s service areas.
  • Immigration Court Watch Program:  Volunteers will have the opportunity to protect the due process rights of individuals currently in immigration proceedings by observing immigration court hearings and documenting any irregularities or abuses.
  • Impact Litigation:  Bet Tzedek’s Impact Litigation Unit targets systemic injustice inflicted on society's most vulnerable members.  Students will research issues for active cases, and assist in researching potential causes of action.
  • Innocence Appeal Research:  Volunteers will assist in researching and revising a revised Writ of Habeas Corpus, which will be filed in the 2nd District Appellate Court.  The case involves a man, who was convicted of 11 consecutive life sentences for allegedly shooting up in the air near a house where 11 people were living.
  • Innocence Project Collaboration:  Students will work with attorneys from K&L Gates LLP to review inmate requests for representation sent to the California Innocence Project.  Each investigation will culminate with the writing of a recommendation memo to be submitted to CIP.
  • Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project:  Legal assistance for refugees seeking resettlement, advocacy to improve U.S. policy toward the refugee crisis, and direct assistance to ease the transition of resettled refugees.  Supervision by several firms, including Bingham, McCutchen LLP; Irell & Manella LLP; Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Lowey LLP; Bryan Cave LLP; and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley, & McCloy LLP; R & S Law Group LLP.
  • Kids In Need of Defense (“KIND”):  The team will provide pro bono legal representation to a child seeking Asylum in the U.S. due to dangers facing them in their home country.  Students will be supervised by attorneys from the law firm of Troutman Sanders LLP.
  • Korean Legal Services and Outreach:  Attorney Sara Lee of the Legal Aid Society of Orange County (LASOC) provides civil legal assistance for monolingual Korean clients.  A student volunteer will assist with general intake, interviews, research, document gathering, preparation of legal documents and additional follow-up.
  • Litigation Assistance:  One student will work with attorneys from Irell & Manella LLP on current pro bono litigation, and may include legal research and memo writing, discovery, drafting pleadings, or even observing a hearing.
  • Litigation Services for the Poor:  Yolanda Omana is a senior attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Orange County is a generalist and works on a wide variety of cases.  Students will assist with interviews, and provide legal work on a variety of cases, including research and preparation of legal documents such as briefs and responsive pleadings.
  • Poverty Law Clinics with Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles:  Students observe and support volunteer attorneys, or may conduct interviews in areas including expungements, immigration, family law and other poverty law issues.
  • Saturday Academy of Law (SAL):  Law students work alongside certified teachers from the Santa Ana Unified School District to teach lessons on the First Amendment, briefing a case, the U.S. court system, and recent constitutional challenges that have made an impact on society.
  • Self Help Center (Long Beach, Inglewood, or Torrance):  The Legal Aid Foundation of LA staffs a self-help center at three Superior Courthouses.  Under their supervision, students will directly assist clients representing themselves in matters from eviction defense to family law, and may give workshops on specific areas of law.
  • Senior Citizen Legal Advocacy Program:  Students will assist Bill Wise, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, with numerous issues affecting senior citizens, including Social Security, food stamps, family law, property, homeowners associations, consumer fraud, collections, and bankruptcy.
  • Tax Advocacy for Low-Income Taxpayers:  Students will be responsible for their own case, working with the IRS, and potentially arguing in U.S. Tax Court under the supervision of Renato Izquieta of LASOC.  Cases will be varied and may involve such issues as innocent spouse relief for victims of domestic violence, small business deductions, or bankruptcy.
  • Transactional and Corporate Law Project:  Students will work with the Public Law Center’s Community Organizations Legal Assistance Project (“COLAP”).  Casework may include: Intellectual Property issues such as copyright and trademark requests for non-profit organizations or small businesses; review of a non-profit’s website; non-profit formation; or employment issues.
  • United Farm Workers Research Project:  Alumnus Edgar Aguilasocho (’12) supervises students researching, writing, and analyzing in various areas of law, including labor law, civil rights, contracts, wage/hour violations, consumer protection, and trademark protection.
  • VA Benefits Project:  Students will assist Veterans seeking relief in the US Court of Appeals for benefit claims, handling the matter through briefing and appeal.  The project is supervised by Sean Twomey of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.
  • Veterans Legal Institute:  Volunteers will be supervised by Dwight Stirling of VLI, assisting him with research and writing, discharge upgrades, veteran’s benefits, and other issues related to military and civil law.
  • Victims of Crime Special Visas (U-Visa):  Students will be supervised by attorneys from the firm of 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 Projects:  Three options: Option 1: Volunteer at intake clinics for day-laborers every-other Thursday evening; Option 2: Volunteer at the WJC office 2-3 hours/week; Option 3: Conduct research remotely, focusing on 1-2 litigation cases in a variety of areas.
  • Workers’ Rights Clinic—Orange County:  Students will participate in the only employment law intake clinics for low-income workers in Orange County.  Issues include discrimination/harassment, wage and hour, unemployment benefits, and wrongful termination.  Mike Gaitley of the Legal Aid Society—Employment Law Center will supervise.
  • Writing and Analysis for Legal Newspaper:  Write articles about recent cases and legal updates in the areas of Family Law, Domestic Violence, Housing, Employment, Bankruptcy, and Consumer Law for LASOC’s paper, The Notice.
  • Youth Health Care and Education Policy Research:  Young Invincibles is a national organization to mobilize and expand opportunities for young Americans between 18 and 34 years of age on issues like higher education, health care, and jobs.  Volunteers are needed to research and write a memo on issues related to health care and higher education.