What is the Pro Bono Honors Program?
The WCL Pro Bono Honors Pledge program recognizes the voluntary, uncompensated work undertaken by WCL students while at the law school on behalf of low-income and underrepresented populations or for the public good. The program is designed to encourage students to continue engaging in pro bono service throughout their careers. Students who take the pledge commit to completing a minimum of 75 hours of pro bono and community service projects. At least 50 hours of the pro bono work completed must be with an organization engaged primarily in law-related or legal work. However, students may complete up to 25 of their 75 hours by doing non-legal community service work.
Amara Legal Center
Amara Legal Center provides free legal services to individuals whose rights have been violated while involved in commercial sex, whether involvement was by coercion, necessity, choice, or otherwise. Student volunteers will be able to get practical experience by conducting intakes and issue spotting.
Capital Area Immigrant Rights (CAIR) Coalition Detention Hotline
CAIR is the only area non-profit that serves immigrants being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). CAIR operates a detention hotline that clients in the five area immigration detention facilities may use to access legal information in between detention center visits. The detention hotline takes calls from 9 am - 5 pm, Monday - Friday, and it relies 100% on volunteers to staff the hotline. Shifts are two hours long (with the option of signing up for multiple shifts in a row), and hotline volunteers assist with delivering follow-up messages to detainees, transferring calls to attorneys, and sometimes conducting a first-time intake with a new client. Training on the hotline occurs during the first half-hour of a person's first shift. Volunteers also visit area jails to provide Know Your Rights trainings and can provide translation services for visits and for different documents.
DC Family Court Self-Help Center
The Family Court Self-Help Center is a free walk-in service that provides unrepresented people with legal information in family law matters. Customers receive information on court processes and descriptions of available legal options. Student volunteers will work with attorneys to give legal and referral information to customers.
DC Landlord Tenant Resource Center
The Landlord Tenant Resource Center provides free legal information to unrepresented tenants and landlords engaged in housing disputes in D.C. Customers receive information on court processes and assistance in preparation of pleadings. Student volunteers will assist attorneys with case triage and limited screening to determine the nature of the customer’s inquiry and level of need.
Homeless Persons Representation Project: Expungement Intake
HPRP is Maryland's only legal services and advocacy organization dedicated to eliminating homelessness. Volunteers conduct interviews and gather essential data from clients for criminal record expungement in order to facilitate higher success rates for clients in obtaining employment and housing. To volunteer, you must first complete the training.
Housing Counseling Services, Community Lawyering & Housing Navigators Project
Housing Counseling Services is a DC non-profit that provides comprehensive housing counseling, training, and advocacy for low- and moderate-income home buyers, home owners, and tenants. Law student volunteers can assist HCS by providing “Know Your Rights” information to tenants and making referrals.
International Refugee Assistance Project WCL Chapter
The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) provides comprehensive legal representation to individual refugees seeking resettlement. WCL IRAP organizes law students and attorneys to provide legal representation to those who have none. IRAP helps clients navigate the rules and processes of resettlement in the US.
National Network to End Domestic Violence, WomensLaw Hotline
WomensLaw, a project of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, has a website that provides state specific legal information for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The WomensLaw.org Email Hotline seeks WCL law students to answer the hotline, which gives victims from around the country the opportunity to email legal questions and be connected to resources. The commitment is approximately 1 hour per week for at least 6 months.
Project for Transgender Incarcerated Survivors (PTIS)
The Project for Transgender Incarcerated Survivors (PTIS) works with transgender and gender non conforming (TGNC) individuals who are having trouble accessing their medical needs, or who have been sexually assaulted. PTIS advocates on behalf of TGNC individuals by sending advocacy letters to their facility and coordinating larger advocacy efforts with local organizations where necessary. Under the supervision of the project director, students volunteers will respond to prison mail and research prison policies and reporting chains within individual facilities.
Tzedek DC works in collaboration with law students to close the justice gap for low-income DC residents facing debt-related crises. Students who volunteer with Tzedek may be asked to conduct intake, work with clients to write personal declarations, conduct and analyze legal research, write letters to clients, synthesize studies, work on client or organization testimony for legislative hearings, and help create community legal education materials.
Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless: Family/Hypothermia Outreach and Homeless Encampment Sweep Response Team
The Hypothermia Outreach Project relies on volunteers to reach out to families and individuals who have no safe place to sleep at night and are seeking emergency shelter. Volunteers connect with homeless families seeking shelter, and help the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless share important information regarding rights, access to housing, and life-saving services. Additionally, the Homeless Encampment Sweep Response Team is a group of lawyers and non-lawyers who help people living on the street protect their belongings and maintain their dignity during city clean-ups.
Veteran’s Consortium, Veterans Pro Bono Legal Clinic
The Veterans Consortium (TVC), the Neighborhood Legal Services Program (NLSP), and the Washington DC VA Medical Center are partnering with AUWCL to staff The Veterans Pro Bono Legal Clinic every Friday. Student volunteers collect client data for triage and conduct issue spotlighting. They also host Wills for Veterans Clinics where law students help with client interview and intake, form preparation, and to witness wills. All student’s tasks will be supervised by an attorney and a one-hour training will provided.