Pre-Approved Pro Bono Projects
The following projects are offered through the Pro Bono Program throughout the Fall 2010 semester:
- Camp Pendleton Legal Assistance Office: Students provide legal assistance to military officers, enlisted service members and their families in areas of family law, consumer law, estate planning, and other issues. Supervision provided by legal assistance attorneys.
- Foster Caregivers Advocacy Program: Teaming up with attorneys from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP in collaboration with the Alliance for Children's Rights, students provide assistance to caregivers of foster children fighting for appropriate funding and services for the abused or abandoned children in their care. Case work involves significant client contact, oral and written advocacy, and the possibility of advocating on behalf of the caregiver at an Administrative hearing.
- General Relief Advocacy Project (GRAP): This project, run by Public Counsel in Los Angeles, works at Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) offices in Los Angeles County. Students advocate for and assist clients in obtaining emergency benefits, including shelter, food, health care, transportation and other social services needs. Opportunities to participate offered during the fall break (Oct. 4-8) as well as throughout the semester.
- Holocaust Survivors Justice Network: Students will team up with attorneys from O’Melveny & Myers, LLP to assist Holocaust survivors who may qualify for pension benefits from the German government for work they performed while living in Nazi-controlled ghettos. The project was initiated by Bet Tzedek, a legal services organization in Los Angeles. Teams will interview the survivor and assist with preparing appropriate forms to obtain the available benefit(s). Basic historical and legal research will be required to verify information.
- Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP): This project was created by students at Yale Law School to respond to the present Iraqi refugee crisis. 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 under the supervision of attorneys from Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, which specializes in immigration law. Students will also be assisted by IRAP student directors and faculty advisor.
- Kids In Need of Defense (KIND): This program offers legal representation to refugee and immigrant children who come to the United States without a parent or legal guardian. UCI Law students will work in pairs, supervised by Anna Davis or attorneys from the law firms of Troutman Sanders LLP or Sedgwick, Detert, and Moran LLP, to interview clients and prepare legal documents, and may attend an immigration hearing in downtown Los Angeles.
- Litigation: Students will assist attorneys from McDermott, Will, & Emery, LLP on the following large-scale litigation matters. Students are expected to work on the case for the semester, with the option to remain involved all year, but students will likely not see the conclusion of the case before graduation.
- General Litigation/Mortgage Refinance Scam: Students will assist McDermott attorneys in research and discovery for a mortgage scam case, referred from the Public Law Center. Students will research trade secrets issues, assist in discovery, and assist in gathering evidence from the District Attorney's Office and third-party witnesses.
- Environmental Litigation: Surfrider v. City of Dana Point. Surfrider filed a lawsuit against the City of Dana Point, arguing that a city ordinance that limits access to the beach violates the California Constitution. The city enacted an ordinance which, for all practical purposes, creates a private beach for a very high-end gated community. Students will research Constitutional law issues and draft a memo. This case also may present opportunities for students to attend court hearings.
- Prisoner’s Rights Litigation. McDermott represents a prisoner at Folsom Prison. These cases require research, briefing, and discovery. If the prisoner is incarcerated locally, students may be able to attend the client interview.
- Superior Court Self Help Center - Long Beach. Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) needs volunteers to staff the self-help center at the Long Beach Superior Courthouse. Training and supervision is provided by LAFLA with a focus on issues of eviction and domestic violence restraining orders.
- SSI Project: Students will assist attorneys Bill Wise and Nancy Rimsha from the Legal Aid Society of Orange County with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) issues for low-income clients seeking benefits due to their age or disability. Students volunteering should be interested in developing their knowledge of this area of the law with the intention of helping to develop and oversee a larger project incorporating more students and private attorneys to assist clients in need of SSI and related benefits. Students can expect to be involved with preparing applications, attending reconsideration reviews and possibly appearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
- Special Education Advocacy: The Orange County Juvenile Court has launched a project to provide legal assistance to children in the foster care system. Students will work with attorneys from Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold LLP to provide educational advocacy to foster care children with special education needs. Advocacy may range from attending school meetings to litigation in an administrative court. Students will likely work on discovery of documents, interviewing of clients and caretakers, researching and negotiation.
- Tax/Litigation/Homeless Assistance: Students will assist Renato Izquieta, an attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, in all of his practice areas, including tax, homeless court and general litigation. For the tax projects, students will help low-income taxpayers resolve IRS tax problems by interviewing clients and preparing legal documents, discovery and other pleadings before the IRS and tax court. Students may accompany Renato to homeless court.
- Transactional and Intellectual Property Project: Students will work with attorneys from various law firms on transactional cases, referred through the Public Law Center’s Community Organizations Legal Assistance Project (COLAP). Projects may include Intellectual Property matters such as copyright and trademark requests for non-profit organizations or small, start-up businesses. A current case involves the review of a non-profit’s web site, while other possible cases may include non-profit formation.
- Additional opportunities: Students wishing to pursue pro bono opportunities other than those listed here may put a request in writing to Pro Bono Director Anna Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org. The final decision regarding whether work qualifies towards pro bono hours shall be made by the Pro Bono Director.