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.

Fall 2017 Projects

  • ACLU Border Litigation Project:  The ACLU of San Diego is seeking a law student to assist a litigation team involved in a damages action against the U.S. Border Patrol.  The student will assist with discovery-related tasks and may prepare short legal research memos on discrete questions, as needed.
  • ACLU Jails Project:  The ACLU Jails Project is seeking law student volunteers to assist with monitoring in Orange County and LA County jails.  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.
  • Amicus Drafting—Sanctuary Cities, Police Accountability, Federal Indian Law:  Prof. Seth Davis is taking the lead on several amicus briefs, and seeks pro bono volunteers to assist with some or all briefs.
  • 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.
  • Asylum Application Project with Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA):   Students will work on an affirmative asylum application for an AMEMSA (Arab, Middle Eastern, South Asian, or Muslim) client.  Work will include interviewing the client, drafting a declaration, researching country conditions, and possibly preparing a legal brief, depending upon the client’s needs.
  • 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.
  • California Women’s Law Center Project—Crisis Pregnancy Centers:  Student volunteers will research enforcement of the 2016 FACT Act, a California law regulating “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” – centers that hold themselves out as service or counseling centers for pregnant women but often provide wildly misleading or false information about abortion and contraception.
  • 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 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.
  • Citizenship Fair Project—LA County:  Catholic Charities of Los Angeles assists with affirmative immigration petitions, with a large focus on assisting Legal Permanent Residents that are eligible to apply for U.S. Citizenship.  Volunteers screen applicants and complete naturalization applications.
  • CIVIC--Immigration Detention Research:    CIVIC is dedicated to ending isolation and abuse of those held in detention facilities around the United States.  Law students will research legal arguments for the complaint filings, which will be sent to the DHS Office of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties
  • 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.
  • Constitutional and Federal Research to Protect DACA Recipient:  Students will conduct research under the supervision of Prof. Leah Litman on the case of Ramirez Medina vs. Asher.  The Plaintiff is believed to be the first DACA recipient detained under the Trump administration.
  • Consumer Debt Defense: Students will assist with answers to consumer complaints, legal research, discovery, and case preparation.  Consumer complaints are often filed without a legal basis, and money judgments are entered causing devastating effects—wage garnishments and levies on assets, leaving low-income clients with few options to pay rent and other necessities of life.
  • Consumer Law Research for Public Counsel:  Students will research one of three areas:  (1) Void Contracts/Arbitraion, which often affects seniors and other vulnerable adults that sign documents without reaching them; (2) Unconstitutionality of the bail bond industry; and (3) Consumer contracts & cognitive neuroscience.
  • Consumer Law at PLC:  The student volunteer will assist low-income Orange County residents with a variety of issues, including debt collection disputes, student loans and for-profit schools, bankruptcy and other civil litigation issues
  • 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 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.
  • Disability Rights for Veterans at the Public Law Center:   Assist low income Veteran clients with disabilities with a variety of issues, particularly focusing on benefits based on disability and disability rights in housing and employment. Students will work with individual veteran clients to investigate cases, collect supporting evidence and draft documents to support applications for disability benefits.
  • 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 9am-1pm and Tuesday mornings 9am-1pm 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.
  • 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). 
  • 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.
  • Immigration Research in the Trump Era:  UCI Law students will work under the supervision of Prof. Jennifer Chacon to research options for undocumented individuals.  Research will focus on entrepreneurial and independent contractor work by individuals not authorized to work as employees under U.S. law.
  • 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; Littler Mendelson P.C.; 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. 
  • Justice for Low-Income Parents:  Most parents of the 28,000+ children in foster homes in LA County are extremely poor and people of color.  A student volunteer will assist with research for current cases, and also prepare Know Your Rights pamphlets for parents that do not understand how the Dependency system intersects with immigration, criminal law, and family law matters.
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • Los Angeles Drop-In Clinics:  The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LALFA) offers two clinics at which law students can just “drop in” at any time during the semester:  (1) Santa Monica Night Clinic to assist low income tenants living in rent controlled units with substandard housing, habilability issues, retaliation, and harassment; (2)  Expungement clinic in Downtown LA.
  • Mercy for Animals: Assist with research in one of three areas: (1) Interstate investigations, providing due diligence and research on possession of items legal in one state, but illegal in another; (2)  Processed meats as carcinogens; or (3) False Claims Act memo.
  • Mobile Home Owner Advocacy: Mobile home ownership is one of the few ways for low-income individuals to acquire assets. Volunteers are needed to assist low-income mobile home owners with issues they face with the park management/ownership and or other tenants.
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • Presidential Nominee Vetting:  Volunteers will research presidential appointees in legal positions for a project with the American Constitution Society. Volunteers will look into education and career data as well as political and organizational affiliations and record their research for use in scholarly publications.
  • Religious Workers Visas:  Volunteers working with Catholic Charities will assist priests and nuns that are seeking visas and adjustment of status.  The Catholic Church often seeks additional religious workers that are familiar with the community’s language and culture.
  • Reproductive Justice Research:  Student volunteers will work with the organization If/When/How to research state laws pertaining to parental consent and judicial bypass procedures for minors to attain abortions.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Street Law:  UCI law students partner with attorneys affiliated with the Association of Corporate Counsel-SoCal to present the Street Law Program to students at Middle College High School, an alternative school in Santa Ana on diverse legal topics and demystify the legal profession.
  • 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.
  • Tenant Defense Clinic:  Preservation of housing cases are a priority for the Legal Aid Society of Orange County (LASOC).  Students will assist clients with completing answers, providing information on procedure, and to assist clients with trial preparation.
  • Tijuana Border Rights Protection for Asylum Seekers:  Students will assist the Border Rights Project of Al Otro Lado by assisting in one of two ways.  (1) Travel to Tijuana, Mexico to assist those seeking asylum with Know Your Rights presentations, creation of asylum applications, and in some cases accompanying the potential asylees to the border to request a credible fear interview with an asylum officer.  (2) Assist with research and writing of country conditions, used at the border to attach to asylum applications.
  • 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 Assistance Clinic:  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 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.
  • Vulnerable Adults—Researching Unjust Civil Commitments:  The National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel is in need of student research to protect vulnerable adults.  A volunteer will research statutes, case law, and contact attorneys involved with civil commitments for those mental health issues. 
  • 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.