Pro Bono Honors Pledge Program - Suggested Placements

Civil Liberties


Advancement Project

The Advancement Project (AP), a policy, communications and legal action group committed to racial justice, was founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1998. Our mission is to develop, encourage, and widely disseminate innovative ideas, and pioneer models that inspire and mobilize a broad national racial justice movement to achieve universal opportunity and a just democracy. Advancement Project partners with community organizations, bringing them the tools of legal advocacy and strategic communications to dismantle structural exclusion. To implement our theory of change, Advancement Project continues to operate on two planes: locally, we provide direct, hands-on support for on-the-ground efforts; nationally, we actively broaden and extend the practice of community-centered racial justice lawyering through training, networking, creation of tools and resources, media outreach and public education. We also operate a communications department that, in partnership with allies, uses sophisticated strategies to raise awareness of racial and social inequities and generate public will for progressive and systemic change.

Alliance for Justice

The Alliance for Justice is a national association of environmental, civil rights, mental health, women's, children's and consumer advocacy organizations. Since its inception in 1979, the Alliance has worked to advance the cause of justice for all Americans, strengthen the public interest community's ability to influence public policy, and foster the next generation of advocates.

American-Arab Antidiscrimination Committee

Students will have the opportunity to work on broad-based issues related to domestic civil rights and international human rights. Currently, much of our work is focused on the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the prevention of anti-Arab hate crimes and harassment, and the defense of civil liberties. While the program is mainly directed towards Arab Americans, students of all ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Arabic language skills are desirable but not mandatory. The summer program is full-time and includes an educational component. Positions during the school year can be part-time. If students do not receive course credit for the program, a small stipend is provided.

American Bar Association Commission on Immigration

The Commission directs Association efforts to ensure fair and unbiased treatment, and full due process rights, for immigrants and refugees within the United States. Acting in coordination with other Association entities, as well as governmental and non-governmental bodies, the Commission: advocates for appropriate statutory and regulatory modifications in law and governmental practice consistent with Association policy; provides continuing education and timely information about trends, court decisions and pertinent developments for members of the legal community, judges, affected individuals and the public; and develops and assists the on-going operation of pro bono programs that encourage volunteer lawyers to provide high quality, effective legal representation for individuals in immigration courts, with special emphasis on the needs of the most vulnerable immigrant and refugee populations.

Americans for Democratic Action (ADA)

ADA is the nation’s oldest, liberal, independent political organization. It focuses on economic, military, foreign, social, and environmental issues, and maintains a political action committee (ADA/PAC). It publishes a weekly legislative newsletter for liberal activists and a quarterly newsletter.

American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland

The ACLU of Maryland works to ensure that all people in MD are free to think and speak as they choose and can lead their lives free from discrimination and unwarranted government intrusion.

American Civil Liberties Union - National Prison Project

The National Prison Project of the ACLU Foundation focuses on issues relating to prisoners’ rights and conditions of confinement. All clients are prisoners and the project handles a caseload of approximately 25 cases per year, primarily class actions.

American Civil Liberties Union - Washington Legislative Office

The WLO is responsible for the federal lobbying program of the ACLU. It advocates before Congress and the executive branch on the full range of civil liberties issues including national security, free speech, privacy, racial justice, immigrants’ rights, reproductive freedom, religious liberty, LGBT rights, and criminal justice.

American Humanist Association

The American Humanist Association's Humanist Legal Center provides law students with an opportunity to support the organization's work advancing secular Humanist values and progressive issue advocacy, focusing on church-state separation, civil liberties, reproductive freedom, human rights, and equality. Pro bono tasks may include supporting legal center staff, conducting legal research, drafting pleadings and briefs, and researching potential cases. We look for law students who are enthusiastic, organized, self-motivated, and reliable, with an interest in Humanism and progressive issues.

American Jewish Congress - National Capital Region

The American Jewish Congress periodically provides direct representation to plaintiffs in religious, racial, and gender discrimination cases, with a special focus on cases involving religious liberty and/or separation of church and state. AJ Congress also files amicus briefs in appellate cases pertaining to religious freedom, separation of church and state, reproductive freedom, civil rights, and a variety of other issues. Finally, AJ Congress has in the past provided pro bono legal assistance to disadvantaged members of the local Jewish community, who are in need of legal representation, especially recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union. The cases cover a wide range of areas, including landlord/tenant and immigration.

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State

Since 1947, Americans United has led the way in defending the separation of church and state, the cornerstone of religious liberty in America. As a non-sectarian, non-partisan organization, AU's membership includes Christians, Jews, Buddhists, people with no religious affiliation and others. Democrats, Republicans and independents have joined our ranks. Americans United is an independent organization with no ties to any larger group or political movement. Contact: Rena Levin, 202-466-3234 or

Appleseed Center - DC Center

The DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice is a nonprofit organization dedicated to solving important public policy problems facing the Washington, DC metropolitan area. To advance this mission, DC Appleseed organizes volunteers, including attorneys and other experts, who work in teams to analyze and develop solutions to problems facing the region. Depending on the problem being addressed, DC Appleseed’s projects involve working with broad coalitions, issuing reports, participating in regulatory proceedings, bringing lawsuits, managing public education campaigns, and meeting with and/or testifying before governmental decision-makers. We are a local organization, working exclusively on a broad array of the biggest public policy problems facing the National Capital area, including healthcare, voting representation, education reform, environmental concerns, jobs, and housing.

Black Leadership Forum

The Mission of BLF is to promote creative and coordinated Black Leadership, diverse in membership but clear on its priority, to empower African Americans to improve their own lives and to expand their opportunities to fully participate in American social, economic and political life.

Contact: Ramonica Moore, 202-689-1965 or

Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition (CAIR)

The Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition (CAIR Coalition) provides services to the immigrant advocacy community in the greater Washington, DC area. Asylum project work includes: conducting intakes (by phone and in-person) for asylum applicants; researching country conditions; writing summaries and other documents as requested; attending some immigration-related meetings; and some general office work. Detention project work includes jail visits, casework for detained immigrants, and legal research.

CASA of Maryland

CASA de Maryland is a community organization that was founded in 1985 by Central American refugees and North Americans. CASA was created in response to the human needs of the thousands of Central Americans arriving in the D.C. area after fleeing wars and civil strife in their countries of origin. Today, CASA serves immigrants from virtually every country in Latin America, as well as Africans, Asians and U.S. citizens. CASA de Maryland has offices in Silver Spring, Langley Park, Wheaton, Shady Grove, and Baltimore. The CASA legal program works with and represents refugees, low-wage workers, day laborers, and low-income residential tenants on issues such as affirmative civil rights litigation, federal and state wage claims, housing law, transit-oriented development, and issues surrounding domestic workers. WCL students are needed for a variety of projects such as: giving “Know Your Rights” trainings to day laborers and tenants, conducting client intakes, research and litigation support. The program’s current caseload includes: MPIA/FOIA litigation, civil rights litigation relating to violations under existing 287(g) programs, housing code enforcement, and rent stabilization.

The Constitution Project

The Constitution Project is a bipartisan nonprofit organization that seeks consensus on controversial, legal and constitutional issues through a unique combination of scholarship and activism.

DC Prisoners Legal Services Project

The DC Prisoners Legal Services Project is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to providing civil legal services to people incarcerated in the District of Columbia. Intern activities may include screening and responding to prisoner letters and phone calls as part of the intake process; interviewing clients; performing legal research on prisoners' rights issues including constitutional claims, medical malpractice, negligence, etc.; performing research relating to DC criminal justice policy and legislation; other special projects as needed.

Government Accountability Project

The Project focuses on whistleblowers within the area of employment law litigation, particularly when government or corporate employees are victims of retaliation for whistleblowing. Cases are selected, in part, based on the public interest component and potential to advance whistleblower rights. The Project will also provide referrals.

 Human Rights First

Human Rights First works in the United States and abroad to create a secure and humane world by advancing justice, human dignity and respect for the rule of law. We support human rights activists who fight for basic freedoms and peaceful change at the local level; protect refugees in flight from persecution and repression; help build a strong international system of justice and accountability; and make sure human rights laws and principles are enforced in the United States and abroad.

Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

The mission of the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is to protect and advance the rights of adults and children who have mental disabilities. The Center envisions an America where people who have mental illnesses or developmental disabilities exercise their own life choices and have access to the resources that enable them to participate fully in their communities.

NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) was founded in 1940 under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall. Although LDF's primary purpose was to provide legal assistance to poor African Americans, its work over the years has brought greater justice to all Americans.

NARAL Pro-Choice America

For more than thirty years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has been the leading national advocate for personal privacy and a woman’s right to choose. NARAL Pro-Choice America's mission is to develop and sustain a constituency that uses the political process to guarantee every woman the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. NARAL Pro-Choice America works to educate Americans and officeholders about the broad range of issues encompassing a woman’s right to choose and elect pro-choice candidates at all levels of government.

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is the preeminent organization in the United States advancing the mission of the nation's criminal defense lawyers to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or other misconduct. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's more than 12,500 direct members -- and 90 state, local, and international affiliate organizations with another 35,000 members -- include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, active U.S. military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness within America's criminal justice system.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Founded in 1973, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation (the Task Force) was the first national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights and advocacy organization and remains the movement’s leading voice for freedom, justice, and equality. We work to build the grassroots political strength of our community by training state and local activists and leaders, working to strengthen the infrastructure of state and local allies, and organizing broad-based campaigns to build public support for complete equality for LGBT people. Our Policy Institute, the community’s premiere think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a world that respects and makes visible the diversity of human expression and identity where all people may fully participate in society.

Contact: Lisa Mottet, 202-393-5177 or

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana/Center for the Study of Drug Policy

NORML's mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty.

Contact: Allen St. Pierre, 202-483-5500 or

National Security Archive

The National Security Archive is a research institute on national security matters and a public interest law firm seeking to enhance public access to information regarding national security. The National Security Archive has been involved in a wide range of precedent setting freedom of information law suits and is frequently looked to as an important non-governmental resource on matters relating to access, secrecy, classification, and First Amendment issues.

National Women's Law Center

Since 1972, the Center has expanded the possibilities for women and girls in the U.S. The Center uses the law in all its forms: getting new laws on the books and enforced; litigating ground-breaking cases in state and federal courts all the way to the Supreme Court; and educating the public about ways to make the law and public policies work for women and their families. An experienced staff of nearly 50 takes on the issues that cut to the core of women's and girls' lives in education, employment, family economic security, and health -- with special attention given to the needs of low-income women and their families.

People for the American Way Foundation

People for the American Way Foundation handles cases involving First Amendment rights, civil rights, and censorship issues, and will accept selected cases involving the infringement of those rights. The organization also monitors judicial selection.

Public Citizen Litigation Group

Public Citizen's Litigation Group is a public interest law firm that specializes in federal health and safety regulation, consumer litigation, open government, union democracy, separation of powers and the First Amendment. We litigate cases at all levels of the federal and state judiciaries and have a substantial practice before federal regulatory agencies. Our efforts are also pursued through programs such as the Alan Morrison Supreme Court Assistance Project and the Freedom of Information Clearinghouse.

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is a nonprofit organization, designed to help any working journalist faced with issues involving the First Amendment.

Public Justice

Public Justice is a national public interest law firm that marshals the skills and resources of trial lawyers to create a more just society. Through creative litigation, public education, and innovative work with the broader public interest community, we: protect people and the environment; hold accountable those who abuse power; challenge governmental, corporate and individual wrongdoing; increase access to the courts; combat threats to our justice system; and inspire lawyers and others to serve the public interest.