There are many ways to serve the community, gain practical skills, and earn pro bono hours. Students can pursue independent pro bono opportunities through avenues outside of Student-Initiated Legal Services Projects (SLPS) and Berkeley Law Alternative Service Trips (BLAST). Independent pro bono projects involve a student working under the supervision of a licensed attorney in the community at a legal services organization, government office, or judicial chambers. For this work to qualify toward the Pro Bono Pledge be sure that it meets the Berkeley Law Definition of Pro Bono. If you are unsure if the work qualifies or need assistance finding the right pro bono opportunity for you, contact the Director of the Pro Bono Program, Deborah Schlosberg. We have highlighted some legal service organizations where you may wish to pursue an independent pro bono project below. If you want to hear about Berkeley Law Public Interest/Pro Bono Announcements for Berkeley Law students, please sign up for the Pro Bono Opportunity Mailing List.
IMPORTANT: Please be sure to assess whether any particular opportunity meets the criteria for summer public interest/public sector stipends (“Dean’s Grants”), the New York Bar, the Pro Bono Pledge, or any other pro bono requirement.
If you are a legal services organization seeking law students to assist with a pro bono project, please click here.
Wildfires devastated many communities in Northern California. Here are some ways that you can help:
- Legal Aid of Sonoma County has an online sign-up form on their website for anyone interested in volunteering. Please visit their home page at http://legalaidsc.org/ and click on the red “Fire Attorney Volunteer” button to register. The organization plans to run informational clinics and provide direct client services.
- OneJustice is acting as a clearinghouse for fire-related legal efforts and has set up a webpage with the most current information.
Organizations for Potential Pro Bono Independent Projects
General Resources for Pro Bono Opportunities
- b-Line (Berkeley Law Recruiting Online)
The Berkeley Law Pro Bono Program does not provide any direct legal assistance and does not refer individuals and organizations seeking assistance to private attorneys. Law students are not permitted to represent individuals in legal matters unless they are working under the supervision of a licensed attorney. Faculty members make individual decisions about pro bono projects; please contact them directly. Please do not telephone, e-mail or write to the Pro Bono Program with legal questions or requests for referrals as we are unable to respond to these inquiries. If you believe you need a lawyer, please contact your local bar association at sfbar.org or http://www.acbanet.org/ or the East Bay Community Law Center.
The California State Bar also provides resources for Californians who need help finding an attorney as well as ways to avoid fraud from notarios and other people posing as attorneys.