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 2018

  • 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.

  • ACLU San Diego Research:  Students will research on complex legal issues involving civil procedure issues for immigration cases; prisoner and detainee First Amendment and privacy rights in a variety of contexts; and the intersection between the juvenile justice system and the adult criminal justice system.

  • American Constitution Society – Federal Register Watchdog Project:  Volunteers will take responsibility for a policy area and regularly review federal/state regulations in that area for comment opportunities.  Volunteers are also welcome to draft comments on issues they are interested in.

  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice Orange County—In Office Litigation Volunteer:   Students are needed to volunteer in-office assisting with citizenship work (often more complicated than those at citizenship fairs), adjustments of status (from visa to green card), family petitions, and general immigration work. 

  • Asian American Advancing Justice—LA Office Research & Drafting:  Several areas are available 1) Know your rights information for workers in the Philippines contemplating moving to the U.S. on temporary work visas; 2)  Mapping/Landscaping  issues facing those in the in-home caregiver industry; 3) Mapping/landscaping voting rights issues; 4)  Research and preparation for OC nail salon litigation.

  • 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, including interviewing the client, drafting a declaration, researching country conditions, and possibly preparing a legal brief, depending upon the client’s needs.

  • 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.

  • California Women’s Law Center Research Project:  Student volunteers will gather information about centers that hold themselves out as service or counseling centers for pregnant women, and then provide misleading or false information about abortion and contraception in an attempt to dissuade women from exercising their rights.

  • 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.

  • Children’s Law Center of California—Research & Writing:  Volunteers may draft statements to the delinquency court regarding the child’s history and best interests;   Research policy issues, including trends in judicial decisions regarding parentage (i.e. increasing the importance of the parent-child relationship; Draft youth-friendly materials explaining dependency system policies.

  • 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 will assist at a minimum of four citizenship fairs during the semester.

  • CIVIC--Immigration Detention Research:    CIVIC is dedicated to ending isolation and abuse of those held in detention facilities around the United States through visitation, monitoring, storytelling, and advocacy.  Law student volunteers will assist with advocacy. 

  • Civil Gang Law Research:  The Urban Peace Institute works to end the overbroad targeting of communities for gang suppression. This means direct legal service, impact litigation and policy advocacy opposing gang injunctions and gang profiling. UPI needs law students interested in researching novel legal arguments and issues as they arise. 

  • 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.

  • Community Economic Development Clinic:  UCI Law’s CED Clinic works with a land trust to create a mercadido (urban garden), another case involves low-income housing.  Spanish speaking volunteers will be used on an as-needed basis to assist with translation and case work.

  • Consumer Debt Defense: Students will gain experience working under a staff attorney that focuses on consumer debt defense and other consumer issues at LASOC. There are many defenses to debt collection that provide relief from the effects and consequences of money judgments. Students will assist with answers to consumer complaints, legal research, discovery, and case preparation.

  • Crime Victims Legal Assistance—Immigration, Civil & Family Law:  Victims of domestic violence and crimes are assisted by the Legal Aid Society of Orange County.   Family law includes help with restraining orders, divorce, paternity, custody and visitation orders. Civil help includes tenant defense, tax and other consumer related cases.  Immigration services include crime-related visas.

  • 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. 

  • 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. Students will work with individual veteran clients to investigate cases, collect supporting evidence and draft documents to support applications for disability benefits.

  • 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 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. 

  • Elder Law & Disability Rights Center:  Students will work on a variety of civil legal issues at a sliding scale non-profit legal services organization. Issues include elder abuse, conservatorships, small estate planning, eviction defense, and more. Students will conduct intake interviews and do research and drafting as needed.

  • Environmental Law Research—Tackling Barriers to Renewable Energy Deployment and Climate Change Progress: As part of the organization’s climate change and clean energy campaign efforts, the Center for Biological Diversity is in need of a student to support litigation to challenge legal and policy barriers to wide-scale renewable energy deployment.

  • 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.

  • 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). 

  • Forced Labor of Farmworkers—Legal Protections:  Many farmworkers are forced to work in the U.S. either as victims of human trafficking; indentured servants; or actual slave labor where workers are threatened, and forced to work.  Students will work on a project to collect farmworker reports of forced labor, raise awareness, and work jointly with prosecutors. 

  • 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 Citation Clinic:  Students will do intake interviews at two clinics for homeless individuals with traffic and misdemeanor citations. Students will assist with representation of clients, including research, writing, client communications, and investigation.

  • 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. 

  • Inner City Law Center’s Small Claims Clinic: ICLC seeks 3 law students to assist with a monthly small claims clinic held in Los Angeles, providing assistance to low-income individuals filing suits about limited legal issues including housing, personal injury, consumer-related issues, and a much more. 

  • 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. 

  • Jails Project—ACLU of Orange County:  Volunteers will assist with examining the conditions inside the Orange County jail facilities. Students will assist with preparing declarations, but may also prepare CPRA requests. If an inmate is identified as having been involved in violence that may support ACLU litigation, the student will visit the person in the attorney room for a statement and a declaration will be prepared. 

  • Juvenile Justice Report:  Prof. Michele Goodwin, in collaboration with Global Child Advocacy, is finalizing a report on girls and juvenile justice.  Law students will assist with reviewing the compiled research, searching for updated state/federal data, and drafting/editing a report for circulation to legislators, civil society members, lawyers, and judges

  • 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:  Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles offers two clinics at which law students can just “drop in”.  The Santa Monica clinic covers low income tenants who live in rent controlled units to discuss substandard housing, habitability, retaliation, and harassment.  The Downtown LA Clinic provides expungement assistance.

  • Mobile Home Owner Advocacy: Mobile home ownership is one of the few ways for low-income individuals to acquire assets. Student 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. 

  • Prisoners Legal Advocacy Network Of Delaware & New Jersey:  Law clerks will assist the legal response team that is challenging the unconstitutional conditions of confinement that arguably precipitated the Vaughn prison uprising. Clerks will administer prisoner questionnaires and conduct legal research, culminating in an administrative notice filed with the Delaware Department of Corrections.

  • Reproductive Justice Research:  Volunteers are needed in one of two areas:  1) legal research, which may involve intersection of issues such as immigration, disability, incarceration, and environmental justice; or 2) Judicial bypass project, which addresses the onerous requirements for a judicial bypass hearing for youth choosing not to involve their parents in their abortion decision making.

  • Research & Analysis for Public Counsel—Consumer Law, Homeless Prevention & Children’s Rights:  Student will (1) Research rights of discovery for vulnerable individuals who have received quality of life tickets (i.e camping, j walking, etc); and (2) Traffic court memo, discussing the application of the exclusionary rule in administration proceedings and analyzing vehicle code governing driver’s license suspensions.

  • 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, Santa Monica, or Torrance:  The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles needs volunteers to staff the self-help center at 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.

  • Surfrider:  Surfrider Foundation fights for sustainable solutions to environmental challenges and increasing Surfrider’s impact for healthy coasts.  Students can expect a sampling of  legal, programmatic, and administrative experience relating to environmental and beach access issues of national significance.

  • 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:  The tenant defense clinic provides direct services to tenants who are being evicted by landlords and/or by the by the Housing Authority under the Section 8 Voucher and other HUD programs.  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: The Border Rights Project of Al Otro Lado is in need of law student volunteers to assist asylum seekers who present themselves at the San Ysidro port of entry with preparation for credible fear/reasonable fear interviews and applications for release from detention once they have made it to the United States.

  • 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 Law Center Legal Information Helpline:  Volunteers will respond to questions received by TLC’s Legal Information Helpline across many areas, including employment, health care, housing, civil rights, immigration, and identity document changes.  Volunteers will provide written responses through TLC’s secure online database.

  • 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. 

  • 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 Involuntary Sterilization:  Some states permit vulnerable adults to be involuntarily sterilized.  A volunteer will research statutes and case law to determine whether a procedure exists to protect the rights of such vulnerable adults in certain states without explicit right to counsel provisions. 

  • 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.