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 2014 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.  A student volunteer is needed to conduct research and writing for a Motion for Summary Judgment.
  • 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 attorney Leigh Ferrin of the Public Law Center. 
  • Bet Tzedek Client Intake:  Bet Tzedek Legal Services (“House of Justice”) handles both direct service and impact ligitation matters in Los Angeles.  Students are needed to assist with intakes, which involve interviewing clients, usually over the phone, regarding their legal issues.
  • 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. 
  • Capital Defense Manual Research:  The Mexican Capital Legal Assistance Program (MCLAP) is funded by the Mexican government, and is seeking law student volunteers to assist in the substantive update of its resource manual, “Representing Mexican Nationals Facing the Death Penalty.” 
  • 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. 
  • Coastkeeper Volunteer:  Legal issues are focused on protecting the water quality in this area.  A committed student volunteer is needed to provide legal research in areas of environmental permitting, review upcoming legislation, and possibly draft comment letters in response to permitting requests or local, environmental regulations.
  • Community Economic Development Project:  Students will work with Skadden Fellow, Ben Polk, in the CED unit of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) on the research projects involving affordable housing development; preparing legal guides and handbooks for small business entrepreneurs and non-profits; and researching permissible political activity for an organization.
  • Conservatorship Project (1)—Assisting Families at Special Education SchoolsVolunteers are needed to meet with families at the schools of their children, and assist them to request conservatorships of their adult, developmentally-delayed children.
  • Conservatorship Project (2)—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.  Student volunteers will work under the supervision of the Director, Frank Davis, conducting research as well as 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 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 Legal-Medical Partnership Project:  The onset of dementia often exposes seniors to personal and financial abuse for many years to come.  The Legal Aid Society of Orange County is partnering with the geriatrics department of the UCI Medical School for an innovative approach to addressing elder abuse issues among patients with dementia. 
  • Esperanza Immigrant Rights Projects:  Esperanza works exclusively with immigrants being held in custody—both adults and children.  Esperanza offers several volunteer opportunities:
    • 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;
    • Intakes of adult detainees with legal assistance, sometimes traveling to Adelanto for client meetings, preparing court documents, and assist with 9th Circuit briefs;
    • Appellate brief for removal proceedings;
    • Public defender immigration assistance
  • Eviction Defense Project:  Students will work with newly-retired 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. 
    • Inland Empire:  Students assist attorneys from the Inland Empire Latino Lawyers Association at expungement clinics in Riverside and San Bernardino.
    • Long Beach & Watts Reentry Clinics:  Clinic volunteers learn how to analyze court dockets, conduct client interviews, prepare declarations, and assist in enforcing anti-discrimination laws impacting previously incarcerated persons. 
    • 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. 
  • Family Law Clinics & Low Income Civil Assistance: Students work with attorney Bill Tanner of 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.
  • Foreclosure Mitigation Unit:  Students will assist Patricia Pinto, the managing attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, with her cases regarding loan modification and foreclosure prevention.  Student work will include intakes, interviews, settlement conferences and workshops.
  • Gang Injunction Community Outreach:  Two student volunteers will work under the supervision of an ACLU of Southern California attorney to educate families in Orange County, beginning in Anaheim, about the use of gang injunctions by law enforcement, and the rights of individuals that may be effected.
  • General Legal 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. 
  • 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 & Democracy in Haiti on enforcement of an award of precautionary measure for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights against the government of Haiti. 
  • 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. 
  • Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities—Homeowners Rights Project:  Two students will assist Prof. Luz Herrera with a project on behalf of The ABA commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities, creating legal education videos in Spanish to help prospective and distressed homeowners. 
  • 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—Dignity for All Project with ACLU
    • In-Office Research Assistance:  Volunteer at the ACLU’s Santa Ana office one day per week to assist with a variety of research tasks pertaining to the criminalization of homelessness and availability of housing and mental health services.
    • Homeless Bill of Rights: Redraft portions of the Homeless Bill of Rights introduced in the last legislative session. 
    • ID Issues: Update and expand existing research on ID barriers and potential legal challenges (outside the voter ID context). 
    • Family Homelessness:  Research the collateral consequences of family homelessness in Orange County, including instances of family separation and problems accessing education. 
  • Hotel/Food Service Worker Project:  UNITE HERE Local 11 is a progressive labor union representing thousands of hotel and food service workers, many of whom are immigrants and women, in Southern California.  Students will gain a wide range of legal experience, including filing unfair labor practice charges to the NLRB, protecting members’ free speech rights at picket lines, and representing members at grievance and arbitration hearings.
  • Human Rights Watch—Children’s Rights Project (2L or 3L’s Only):  Volunteer a minimum of 8 hours per week with attorney Elizabeth Calvin, conducting state-by-state records act requests to determine the number of teens sentenced to adult terms in each state.  The research is likely to result in a paper, which the student may be involved with. 
  • Immigration Assistance for Detainees at Musick Facility in Irvine:  Students will assist attorneys from Public Counsel in providing legal orientation presentations to detainees at Irvine’s Musick Detention Facility.  They will then meet one-on-one with detainees to assess their legal claims and, if appropriate, make referrals.
  • 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.
  • Immigration Detention Project:  Students will work with attorneys from Public Counsel to visit detainees in the Santa Ana Jail, and prepare them for their immigration proceedings. Volunteers will meet with detainees at the jail to inform them of their immigration options, relief available, and help them prepare for their pro se trial. 
  • Impact Litigation:  Bet Tzedek’s Impact Litigation Unit pursues affirmative litigation and appellate advocacy that targets systemic injustice inflicted on society's most vulnerable members.  Law students will research issues for active cases, and assist in researching potential causes of action under state and federal law. 
  • Inland Empire Latino Lawyers Association—Legal Aid Project:  A student will volunteer at the IELLA office in Riverside, assisting with translations and legal document preparation in the areas of family law, evictions, expungements, civil collections, restraining orders and small claims
  • 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:  IRAP's work includes legal assistance for refugees seeking resettlement from abroad, policy advocacy to improve U.S. policy toward the refugee crisis, and direct assistance to ease the transition of newly resettled refugees to American life.  Students will work in pairs under the supervision of attorneys from several firms, including Bingham, McCutchen LLP; Irell & Manella LLP; Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Lowey LLP; Bryan Cave LLP; R & S Law Group LLP; and Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton 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.
  • Legal Aid with Renato Izquieta/Special Projects:  Students will work with Special Projects supervising attorney, Renato Izquieta of Legal Aid Society of Orange County on a variety of legal issues, including a tax reform matter, a guardianship trial involving a Veteran, and legal research and writing on civil legal issues faced by homeless veterans.
  • Legal Aid with Renato Izquieta—Research &Writing Project:  Assist with researching and writing a chapter dedicated to “civil legal issues” that homeless veterans face for a book on Homeless and Veterans issues for the American Bar Association Commission on Homelessness and Poverty.    
  • Legal Aid with Renato Izquieta—Fresh Start for Former Foster Youth:  Assisting foster youth and those adults formerly involved in foster care programs with civil legal issues in the areas of family law, consumer law, public benefits, sealing of delinquent records and expungements
  • 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 Assistance for Koreatown Redistricting Case:  Attorneys from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Bird Marella LLP need student assistance on a pro bono litigation matter arising out of the division of the Koreatown community into multiple city districts during the recent round of redistricting. 
  • Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition Research:  During the 19th and 20th centuries, Native American children were separated from their families and tribes and sent to boarding schools to be indoctrinated in the Euro-American standard.  Students will research novel legal issues regarding potential suits by Native Americans. 
  • Operation Veterans Re-entry Project: Students will assist veterans seeking discharge upgrades, expungements, housing, government benefits, family law assistance, and debt relief, under the supervision of a Public Law Center attorney.
  • Research and Appellant Assistance for Constitutional Challenges to Montana Statute:  A Montana attorney serving indigent clients through the public defender’s office is mounting constitutional challenges to a controversial sobriety program affecting drivers charged but not convicted of DUI offenses. Students will assist her with legal research and brief drafting and may attend the argument in the likely event the case reaches the Montana Supreme Court.
  • 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. 
  • School to Prison Pipeline Investigation:  Attorney Bardis Vakili of the ACLU of Southern California will supervise two students, who will investigate the use of police and criminal statutes in Orange County schools, and evaluate the best options to combat the rising and disproportionate number of youth of color in OC jails and juvenile hall. 
  • 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.
  • Small Claims Clinic – Inland Empire Latino Lawyers Association: Students will inform clients about the small claims process and assist with preparation of legal court forms in what is often a very daunting process for low income clients.
  • Transactional and Corporate Law Project:  Students will work with Sarah Efthymiou of the Public Law Center’s Community Organizations Legal Assistance Project (“COLAP”).  Needs vary, and may include the following:  Intellectual Property matters 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.
  • 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 ProjectsOption 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:  Judgment enforcement; wage theft cases; and fraud by employer among others. 
  • Workers’ Rights Clinic—Orange County:  Students will participate in the first and 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 provide training and supervision, in addition to assistance by employment attorneys based in Orange County. 
  • Workers’ Rights Clinic—Los Angeles: 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 during Wednesday evening walk-in clinics at the Bet Tzedek office.
  • Writing and Analysis for Legal Newspaper: The Legal Aid Society of Orange County has launched its own weekly legal publication, The Notice.  Students are needed to write articles about recent cases as well as legal updates in the areas of Family Law, Domestic Violence, Housing, Employment, Bankruptcy, and Consumer Law. 
  • 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.