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 2020

  • ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties—Civil Rights Litigation Project: Volunteers will assist with projects related to federal civil rights litigation, working on accountability, transparency, and improving the law enforcement practices of Customs & Border Protection.
  • ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties—Appellate Argument Moot: Students will help prepare an ACLU-SDIC attorney for an upcoming oral argument in a Court of Appeals case, including a moot prior to his argument regarding welfare benefits.
  • ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties—Research on Limitations on Jail Visitation: Students will research permissible limits on legal visits to jail inmates during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • ACLU of Southern California—LGBTQ, Gender & Reproductive Rights: Research in the areas of reproductive rights; religious refusals of reproductive and gender affirming health care; reproductive justice in jails focusing on pregnant and postpartum people; or comprehensive sexual health curricula in local school districts.
  • ACLU of Southern California—Orange County Criminal Justice Team: Research conditions in Orange County jails and advocate on behalf of people in custody and their loved ones. Students will staff the Incarcerated People’s Hotline, collecting narratives and declarations that may support litigation or administrative advocacy.
  • 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: Students volunteering for this project will work remotely with API communities throughout Orange and Los Angeles Counties on immigration matters, especially citizenship applications.
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice—Domestic Violence work with SAFE: Work with clients and attorneys remotely to prepare domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) applications and other family law petitions, responses, requests and declarations.
  • Bankruptcy Courthouse Volunteer: Students will volunteer virtually at the Bankruptcy clinic for clients at the Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana. Volunteers will meet with pro se litigants and provide advice on filing bankruptcy forms.
  • Bet Tzedek Law Clerk: Students may work in areas such as Holocaust Survivors, Small Business Development, Low-Income Tax Advocacy, Homelessness, Real Estate Fraud, Employment Rights, Family Caregivers, Conservatorship, Elder Abuse Restraining Orders, Public Benefits, Guardianship, Immigrant Family Preparedness, Advance Planning and more.
  • Bet Tzedek Legal Intakes: Students are needed to 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.
  • Border X Project—Remote Immigration Advocacy: The goal of Border X is to help detained immigrants to get released. Students will prepare motions for bond hearings or parole requests for those detained at regional detention centers. Students will use extensive documentation to prepare a motion.
  • California Women’s Law Center Research Project: Student volunteers will assist in evaluating California public schools, including colleges and universities, compliance with Title IX. Work may include researching lactation accommodation for pregnant and parenting students at universities, or Title IX implementation regarding athletics in K-12 schools.
  • 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, immigration, and various other issues.
  • Children’s Law Center of California—Policy Research: CLC is the largest law firm for foster youth in the nation. Volunteers are needed to assist with policy and advocacy work relating to issues affecting children and young adults in the foster care system.
  • Christian Legal Aid—Clinics & Calls: Students may support volunteer attorneys; conduct interviews or remote intake and follow-up calls with potential clients; or attend clinics with clients to assist them in the areas of expungements, immigration, family law and other poverty law issues.
  • Citizenship Outreach Projects: Catholic Charities of Los Angeles (CCLA) is in need of student volunteers to be help either 1) conduct citizenship trainings virtually; or 2) prepare citizenship applications remotely or in-office as COVID restrictions allow.
  • City Council, Brown Act & Public Comments—Housing, & Civil Rights: Student volunteers will work with an attorney from Elder Law and Disability Rights Center to research and prepare public comments for local city council meetings, and investigate Brown Act violations.
  • Civil Gang Law Research: Volunteers will work with alum working on direct legal services, impact litigation and policy advocacy opposing gang injunctions and gang profiling. Volunteers must be interested in researching novel legal arguments and issues as they arise.
  • Civil Rights Litigation—Disability Rights Legal Center: DRLC Civil Rights Project needs volunteers to work on high impact litigation guaranteeing the rights of people with disabilities, including fact gathering, development of legal theories, drafting pleadings, motions practice, trial preparation, settlement negotiations and community education.
  • Coachella Valley Waterkeeper Remote Volunteer—Environmental Justice & Tribal Water Rights: The Coachella Valley Waterkeeper seeks a volunteer to work out of the Orange County Coastkeeper office on issues affecting water accessibility in the Coachella Valley and possibly issues of tribal rights.
  • Coastal Policy Research: One student will work be supervised by an alumni, who is doing independent pro bono work for Surfrider, researching policy issues that may include California Coastal Commission policies and beach erosion.
  • Coastkeeper Volunteer: The organization focuses on protecting water quality in this area. A committed student volunteer is needed to work virtually, researching environmental permitting, reviewing upcoming legislation, and possibly drafting comment letters in response to permitting requests or local environmental regulations.
  • Common Cause—Fair Redistricting for Fair Elections: Volunteers will work with Common Cause, a nonpartisan organization seeking to defend democracy by fighting for a fair process in which every voice is heard and every vote counts. Volunteers will need to be available each week on an as-needed basis to assist in the against gerrymandering and for fair voting. 
  • Community Economic Development Clinic: UCI Law’s CED Clinic works on several cases including a land trust to create a mercadido (urban garden), another involves low-income housing. Spanish speaking volunteers will be used on an as-needed basis to assist with translation and case work.
  • Consumer Rights Research for Public Counsel: The Consumer Rights and Economic Justice Project aids clients that have been taken advantage of, including victims of fraud. Students will help research issues including financial elder abuse law and debt related to the criminal justice system (e.g., bail).
  • Court Watch Orange County: Students will collect information regarding the treatment of defendants in courts focused on “low level” crimes. Students will virtually attend arraignments, pre-trials, and traffic/infraction courts to identify issues for those receiving low-level offenses and take note of the effect of fines and fees on defendants
  • COVID-19—Free Legal Answers Helpline: Law students will work under the supervision of UCI Law alums to research and draft legal memos in response to helpline questions from Californians in need of assistance with employment, housing and family law issues related to COVID-19.
  • Criminal Appellate Defense Research for the Office of the Ohio Public Defender: Student volunteers will assist with research and drafting memoranda regarding legal questions related to active cases and/or recurring issues.
  • Criminal Defense Research for Colorado PD: Student volunteers are needed to research all levels of criminal cases, from pre-trial to appeal, for Colorado Public Defenders. Projects include everything from quick criminal procedure/evidence research to drafting appeals.
  • Criminal Law Projects in Orange County:
    • District Attorney’s Office: Students may get significant exposure to issues of evidence and criminal procedure while observing in court, researching, writing, and assisting with preparation for in-court appearances by a Deputy District Attorney in Santa Ana.
    • Federal Public Defender’s Office Research: Student volunteers will assist trial and/or habeas attorneys with the Federal Public Defender's Office-Santa Ana branch. Work will include researching and drafting memorandums regarding legal questions related to active cases and/or recurring issues.
    • Public Defender’s Office: Volunteers will help interview clients, assist with arraignments, help in the preparation of misdemeanor trials and expungement petitions, as well as assist trial attorneys and the Alternate Public Defenders Office. 
  • Criminal Law—White Collar Defense: Students will assist with a case on behalf of a disabled woman who may have had been used in a money-laundering scheme. Volunteers will help the pro bono attorney prepare and conduct an initial client interview, develop a case timeline, research applicable caselaw, organize all of the evidence and develop a strategy to protect her.
  • Defending Parents’ Rights in Dependency Proceedings: A volunteer student will assist an OCPD attorney helping parents who have children removed from their care by reviewing reports and case plans with clients, communicating with social workers, drafting motions, performing legal research, and observing proceedings.
  • Disabled and Elderly Social Security Benefits (SSI) Clinic: Volunteers will help clients navigate the SSI appeals process, working to secure social security benefits for elderly and disabled clients and fight against benefits termination and/or overpayments.
  • Domestic Violence Declarations—Orange County: Students will volunteer virtually, assisting self-represented clients to prepare declarations for their Temporary Restraining Orders. Students will conduct an interview and immediately prepare a declaration.
  • Drug Policy Alliance: DPA is the nation’s leading organization working to end the war on drugs. Volunteers will assist with legal and policy research to support DPA’s advocacy efforts, and will likely include legal research, legal writing, policy research, and sending and monitoring FOIA requests.
  • Education Rights—Remote Volunteers: The Learning Rights Law Center mission is to ensure equitable access to public education for all students. Volunteer students will do legal research and writing for a due process case, which the student will take from start to finish.
  • Elder Abuse—Real Estate Fraud Research: Bet Tzedek's sees many cases in which older adults are deceived into signing a quit claim deed that results in their giving up title to their home. A law student volunteer will research real property title transfer laws outside of California to identify more demanding processes to effect real property title transfers, or simpler ways to undo such transactions in cases of abuse or fraud.
  • Elder Law and Disability Rights—In Office Volunteer: Volunteers will conduct intake interviews, and may assist with estate planning, limited conservatorships, or SSI applications. Student will also conduct research and drafting as needed.
  • Election Protection Hotline Captains: The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and its coalition partners seek legal volunteers to remotely serve as Captains for the Election Protection’s English language national voter hotline (1-866-OUR-VOTE).
  • Employment Rights Virtual Clinic—Los Angeles: Bet provides legal services to workers in Los Angeles’ low-wage, underground economies. Volunteers will conduct intakes for low-wage workers during virtual Wage & Hour Theft Clinics and gain issue-spotting and client interviewing skills.
  • Environmental Justice Research—Housing Projects: Students will research potential environmental justice impacts of a project, and draft a memo for Elder Law and Disability Rights Center (ELDR). Volunteers will be provided confidential information regarding the project once assigned.
  • Environmental Law Research—Ensuring a Just and Clean Energy Transition to Combat the Climate Emergency: The Center for Biological Diversity is in need of one student to support litigation fighting barriers to distributed solar and the just clean energy transition. 
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Project #1—Class Action Race-Based Claims: A student will assist the EEOC on cases involving workplace race harassment and/or race discrimination. The volunteer will conduct intakes of potential class members and provide an analysis applying the facts to the applicable legal framework.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Project #2—Research Efficacy of Injunctive Remedies to Correct Discrimination: A student will draft a research memorandum regarding how courts differ in their interpretation of what constitutes reasonable steps taken to correct and respond to harassment in the case of Federal consent decrees, as well as the efficacy of those measures in correcting and preventing further harassment.
  • Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project #1 —Community Education Programs: UCI student volunteers are needed to assist with remote work doing intakes, helping respondents fill out applications and motions pro se, assisting in workshops, along with other tasks supporting the programs. Students will participate in asylum workshops over the phone or Zoom.
  • Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project #2 — Remote Asylum Research & Merits Filings for Released and Detained Clients: Students will assist attorneys with either researching country conditions for asylum applications, research on complex immigration issues, or help develop and assemble evidence for merits hearings for clients detained or recently released from Adelanto Detention Center.
  • 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 move on with their lives. The Clean Slate clinic also assists with applications for Certificate of Rehabilitation, Responses to DA Opposition, Motions for Reconsideration, and Juvenile Sealing.
  • Family Law at Public Law Center: A volunteer will work with attorneys at PLC on a variety of family law issues for low-income clients, including researching and writing pleadings for family law proceedings, domestic violence restraining orders, guardianships, custody and visitation and other family law matters.
  • Farmworker Labor Law Project: Students will work under the supervision of attorneys with Martinez Aguilasocho and Lynch, who provide legal assistance to the United Farm Workers (UFW). Work may include creating Know Your Rights guides for workers, outlines and/or presentations for training UFW employees and members, and research and drafting for UFW and/or the UFW Foundation.
  • Freedom for Immigrants--Immigration Detention Policy Research: Current research include (1) contracts between ICE, and entities providing services to immigration jails and prisons that are not yet public; (2) the impact of ICE detention contract terminations on local ICE enforcement; and (3) the power of local and state governments to pass legislation and Executive Orders to fight detention. 
  • Guardianships: Students will work with attorneys from Rutan & Tucker, LLP to assist caretakers seeking probate guardianships of minor children that are in their care. Students will interview caretakers, prepare guardianship forms, and may attend the hearing with the supervising attorney.
  • Habeas Appeal with Colorado PD: Assist with research and preparing a habeas motion for a client sentenced to consecutive habitual sentences for a total of 169 years when he was 26 years old for a robbery where no one was injured.
  • Haiti Human Rights Initiative: International law and human rights research projects for the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti. Research topics may include: UN’s obligations to provide for cholera victims; Child support from UN peacekeepers; Accountability for detrimental foreign aid practices; Reducing impunity for high-powered criminals; Promoting representative and participatory elections; or efforts against government crackdowns on political and civil rights in Haiti. 
  • Harm Reduction/Drug Policy Research: Research assignments into various state and federal laws that affect harm reduction organizations and people who use drugs, for use in guidance and consultation to impacted parties, as well as non-partisan, evidence-based publications and trainings. 
  • Health Care Access and Advocacy: Volunteers will work in a specialized unit of Community Legal Aid SoCal focused on policy advocacy and assisting low-income clients in Orange County to access health care and solve serious issues clients may have with their medical insurance. Students will interview clients and strategize about the best outcomes on a case-by-case basis.
  • Health Law Project with PLC: Public Law Center's Health Law unit has a specialty project assisting low-income individuals living with AIDS or HIV, and medical-legal partnerships with healthcare providers throughout Orange County. Students will have the opportunity to draft briefs for hearings and appeals.
  • Hotel/Food Service Worker Project—Union Labor Work: Students may represent union members in grievance and arbitration proceedings; investigate, file and present unfair labor practice charges; protect members' free speech rights at Union actions and picket lines; assist laid-off hospitality workers in obtaining vital unemployment insurance benefits, including representing workers in appeals hearings. 
  • Immigration Assistance for Undocumented Anteaters & Family Members: UCI is home to more than 700 undocumented students. Volunteers interview students and family members of students, prepare record requests to determine possible immigration relief, prepare applications, and conduct research for humanitarian relief and family-based petitions.
  • Immigrant Defenders Law Center-Supporting Juvenile Immigration Removal Defense & Related Research: Students will perform remote legal research on a variety of matters related to the detention of immigrant children and relief applications. Remote client interaction possible depending on the project.
  • Immigration Removal Defense—Catholic Charities of OC: Providing legal assistance to clients in removal proceedings, either non-detained or detained dockets. Duties may include: (1) legal research for bond hearings and a variety of removal defenses; (2) research and drafting motions in state court seeking Special Juvenile Findings; (3) drafting declarations; (4) and researching country conditions.
  • Immigration Screening Clinic--Monthly: Students will assist with a monthly immigration screening clinic in Santa Ana, meeting one-on-one with clients who are seeking assistance with their immigration status, gathering information so that Public Law Center can determine if the clients are eligible for any form of immigration relief.
  • Innocence Project Collaboration: Students will assist the California Innocence Project in reviewing requests for representation and writing recommendation memos under the supervision of attorneys from K&L Gates LLP.
  • Innocence Rights of Orange County: Law Office of Annee Della Donna is in need of student volunteers to assist in investigating current and potential innocence cases and drafting Appellate briefs and legal briefs on innocence cases that will be heard by the Court this session.
  • International Justice Project—UN Monitoring: Students will identify and brief admissibility and merits decisions issued by United Nations treaty bodies. Volunteers will monitor activity of UN committees that investigate torture, racial discrimination, discrimination against women, migrant workers, children, persons with disabilities, civil & political rights, enforced disappearances, and economic, social & cultural rights.
  • International Lawyers Assisting Workers (ILAW) Network: Students will choose topic areas and conduct research that supports member attorneys around the globe. These attorneys operate in different countries, but their causes are the same – to support workers and their organizations by challenging repressive laws, regulations, and practices by governments or global corporations.
  • International Refugee Assistance Project—Casework: IRAP assists refugees applying for resettlement from abroad and policy advocacy to improve the refugee crisis. Students work under the supervision of attorneys from Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher LLP; Payne & Fears LLP; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP; Polsinelli LLP Sheppard, Mullin, Richter, and Hampton LLP; Lara & Luna APC.
  • IRAP—Operation ExpanSIVe Justice: Students will assist those with Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applications, including searching for contracts to verify employment, reaching out to human resources departments for employment letters, and contacting military supervisors for letters of recommendation.
  • Kids In Need of Defense—Remote Research: Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) seeks volunteers to research creative arguments to overcome the challenges the current Administration is creating in asylum law, and to research country conditions for children’s asylum applications.
  • Last Prisoner Project—Cannabis Restorative Justice: LPP seeks to bring restorative justice to those serving prison sentences for cannabis related crimes, which are no longer illegal. Volunteers will work with LPP teams on current and upcoming legislation and ballot initiatives, a clemency initiative, and direct services such as drafting expungment and/or clemency petitions.
  • Law for Black Lives: Students may work on a variety of issues that may include legal research regarding divestment from the foster system, reviewing legislation that criminalizes sex work, or assisting with an anti-gentrification land campaign. Work will vary as the community needs evolve.
  • Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights—Claim Settlement for Homeless Individuals: Volunteers are needed to assist class members with the claim form for unhoused individuals whose property was taken and destroyed by Caltrans. All work is remote with law students calling class members and helping them complete a form over email and phone calls.
  • Legal Assistance for Crime Victims—Civil & Family Law: Volunteers will assist victims of domestic violence and crimes. Clients are assisted in a holistic manner in the areas of family law, civil law and immigration.
  • Limited Conservatorships for Families of Dependent Adults: Students will file for an obtain conservatorships for families of adults with developmental disabilities who cannot fully care for themselves.