Pro Bono Opportunities
The following includes a list of pre-approved law-related pro bono opportunities that satisfy the requirements of the UW Pro Bono Honors Society.
Not finding what you're looking for? Here are other resources you can use to find pro bono opportunities.
Interested in another law-related pro bono opportunity not listed below? Please contact to confirm that your opportunity satisfies our program requirements.
UW-Based Pro Bono Projects
Center for Public Service Law Pro Bono Projects
Many Washington families can’t get the legal help they need, simply because they can’t afford it. The Moderate Means Program (MMP) is here to help. The Moderate Means Program is a partnership between the Washington State Bar Association and Washington’s 3 law schools. MMP connects people within 200–400% of the Federal Poverty Level to lawyers who offer legal help at reduced fees. The program focuses on the areas of Family, Housing and Consumer Law.
Law student volunteers get trained on family, housing and consumer law and conduct phone interviews/intakes with prospective clients and match them with program attorneys who agree to represent clients at reduced rates.
For volunteer information please visit the MMP program website.
The UW Pro Bono Program partners with UW Law faculty and student leaders to offer law students (especially 1Ls) the opportunity to do pro bono legal research and writing on select international public interest law topics to further the work of partner NGOs working for human rights and/or environmental protection.
For more information contact .
Student-Led Pro Bono Projects
Description: IFAP is a student-run legal services organization that helps eligible immigrants apply for U-Visas. U-Visas are available to survivors of violent crimes who suffer substantial mental or physical abuse and choose to aid in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal actor. The vast majority of our clients are survivors of domestic violence.
We take cases as referred to us by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP). We are a large force in helping diminish their vast U-Visa wait list, as we take approximately 35 cases each year. As a law student taking an IFAP case, you’ll work with another student and a supervising attorney. This team, and an interpreter if needed, will be assigned to see one client through the U-Visa process. It’s a great way to develop client skills, work with an attorney, and get some on-the-ground legal work under your belt.
Time Commitment: This is a long-term commitment that typically starts at the end of Fall Quarter (with one initial training in October), and ends when your case is filed (typically at the end of Spring Quarter). That being said, it’s normal to finish an IFAP case within about 30 hours of work over that time period.
Contact Information: If you have any initial questions, feel free to reach out to IFAP’s co-presidents Alex Revelas (), Zachary K. Parsons ().
The Incarcerated Mothers Advocacy Project is a coalition of law students, social service providers, activists and formerly incarcerated women who seek to change the rights afforded incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women in the State of Washington. Students engage in community legal education and self-help assistance.
For more information please contact Jessica Knowles at or Maria Hoisington at .
Street Youth Legal Advocates of Washington (SYLAW) is dedicated to engaging
with community actors to help address the evolving legal needs of at-risk, unstably housed and homeless youth in Seattle. Law student volunteers participate in monthly juvenile court record sealing clinics hosted by Team Child, as well as weekly drop-ins hosted by various community organizations in the city, where volunteers work directly with youth to provide legal information and connect youth with existing legal resources.
For more information please contact Crys O’Grady at or Claire Sullivan at .
App Help is a student-led pro bono project of the Center for Human Rights and Justice. It is designed to offer legal support to unrepresented, detained immigrants who are in deportation proceedings at the Tacoma Immigration Court. We work in collaboration with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) Tacoma office to provide pro-se assistance to low-income detainees seeking asylum. Student teams commit to discrete assignments which can be completed in a single 3-5 hour meeting. Assignments may include assisting a detainee in completing his or her Form I-589 application for asylum, or assisting the detainee in drafting a supporting declaration.
No prior knowledge or background in immigration law is required. Students receive training in asylum law and are given detailed instructions on how to complete the asylum application. All materials are left with the detainee and are reviewed by a NWIRP attorney prior to the individual's hearing. App Help is a great way to gain legal experience by providing a tangible service to immigrants who would not otherwise receive assistance. This project emphasizes client interviewing and writing skills, and provides a meaningful opportunity to interact with a highly vulnerable population.
For more information please contact Claire Sullivan at or Erin Apte at .
Each year, the UW Law Environmental Law Society collaborates with public interest lawyers in the field to work on an environmental law project on behalf of the public or economically disadvantaged clients. Participating 1Ls conduct legal research, work directly with attorneys at their partner organization, and have an impact on an issue of pressing regional significance.
For the 2014-15 school year, the ELS is partnering with Attorney Andrea Rodgers Harris to file several Clean Water Act enforcement cases against Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) on the west side. ELS pro-bono volunteers will assist Ms. Rodgers Harris in building the enforcement cases against these facilities, which will involve the request and review of public records to pinpoint the discharges, drafting of the notice letters, and potentially drafting the complaints. This project will provide great exposure to the initiation of a citizen suit under the Clean Water Act.
For more information please contact Michael Harvey at , Audrey Frey at or Zyanya Breuer at .
The Washington Vets Wills Clinic (“Clinic”) has been providing pro bono legal advice and free estate planning documents to eligible Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard and Reserve members, and their spouses for three years. Founded in 2012, the Clinic is a coalition of philanthropic, educational, civic, and veterans' service organizations dedicated to giving back to former members of the military. The Clinic assists Veterans while providing pro bono opportunities to the legal community and experiential learning through service to law students.
The first North Sound Clinic will be hosted in Seattle on 18 October 2014, by the University of Washington School of Law. The Clinic’s goal is to ensure that every attending Veteran and spouse meets with a lawyer and leaves the Clinic with an executed and notarized will, power of attorney, and health care directive.
To participate in the Clinic, Veterans apply online and the information requested in the application is used to create unique estate planning documents for each Veteran client. Not all that apply are accepted, and the Clinic reserves the right to determine rules of use and participation. Once the Veteran and spouse are accepted, Clinic staff assigns them an appointment time. On the day of the Clinic, Veterans register, enjoy refreshments, and visit with the partners and each other until their appointment time.
At their appointment time, the assigned law clerk greets the Veteran and their spouse, and accompanies them to a room where they meet in confidence with an assigned lawyer. The lawyer interviews, counsels, and advises the clients while the law clerks draft any changes to the packet of pre-filled estate planning documents. The lawyer reviews these with the clients and, once final copies are printed, guides them through execution of the documents. Volunteer notaries public assist with formally executing the documents. Finally, the law clerk escorts the clients back to the lobby.
A free Continuing Legal Education training class precedes each Clinic event, to teach lawyers and supporting volunteers the estate planning process, and to acquaint them with the basic documents used at the Clinic.
As one second-year law student volunteer observed, "As I saw the Vets leave after their sessions, they left holding hands with their spouses, smiling and thanking volunteers. It was apparent that the services we provided had both legal and emotional benefits for the clients." Those legal and emotional benefits extend to the students, who find it very gratifying to serve the Veterans population, while learning about estate planning from practicing attorneys.
Law Student Role: Law students can volunteer in two ways. The first is to volunteer for the day of the clinic, for a morning shift, afternoon shift, or all day (both) shift. The day of shifts will involve a combination of observing attorneys advising veteran clients, as well as general all-around and administrative tasks. The Clinic will work diligently to provide a combination of exposure to legal work as well as general purpose work. The second way to volunteer is for making confirmation calls to the veteran clients of their appointments, which will occur on Saturday Oct 11th. This option allows for an hour or two of service, though the confirmations are more administrative than legal work.
Please volunteer through the online volunteer form and use the comments box to indicate what volunteer opportunity you are interested in.
Community-Based Pro Bono Programs
Wayfind connects nonprofit organizations and low-income microenterprise entrepreneurs in Washington State with transactional lawyers who will assist them, pro bono, on business legal matters. Wayfind hosts two microenterprise legal clinics, in partnership with Washington CASH and Start Zone NW, two nonprofit organizations that provide support to low-income microenterprise entrepreneurs. Wayfind pro bono transactional lawyers meet with low-income microenterprise entrepreneurs to issue-spot and counsel them on legal issues and responsibilities with respect to their microenterprise business venture.
The types of legal issue that clients typically present include: review of contracts operating agreements and leases, business entity selection, intellectual property including publishing and trade name, and adding people to a partnership.
Law student volunteer clinic assistants are needed to assist the lawyers at the microenterprise clinic by taking interview notes and drafting the client “work plan” which summarizes the legal advice given by the attorney. The WA CASH clinic takes place from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. on the 2nd Tuesday of every month; and the Start Zone NW clinic takes place from 5:00 to 7:30 quarterly (December 2nd and March 3rd). This opportunity is open to all law students.
- Time Commitment: Must commit to volunteering at least one 3-hour clinic
- Location: Clinics held at Washington CASH in Seattle and Start Zone NW at Edmonds Community College
- Training: Must participate in the UW Law’s Pro Bono Core Competencies training on Saturday, October 11, 8:30am- 3:00pm and watch a video of the 10/2/12 Microenterprise 101 training.
- Application Process: Email a resume and cover letter addressed to Jodi Nishioka, Wayfind Executive Director to the contact below.
- Application Deadline: Friday, October 17, 2014
- Contact: Aline Carton-Listfjeld, Center for Public Service Law,
The Unemployment Law Project provides legal assistance and information to people in Washington State who have been denied unemployment benefits or whose award of benefits is challenged. This is fantastic opportunity for law students (including 1Ls) to conduct client intake Interviews and possibly represent clients in administrative hearings.
- Time Commitment: Minimum 5 hours per week; no maximum; the more hours available, the more likely one can move from doing intakes to doing hearings.
- Recommended Skills/Prerequisites: Be curious and committed to helping people in need; Rule 9 not necessary, but not a disqualifier either.
- Type of Supervision and Training: Direct supervision, mentoring, and training both for intakes and hearings.
- Description: Law student volunteers are trained to do intake interviews with our potential clients; thereafter, volunteers observe two intakes, are observed doing two intakes, and then are increasingly on their own; these intakes may be presented daily at case review. If the volunteer continues and can invest more time, we train the volunteer to be a representative for clients at adversarial administrative hearings; in this process, there is a training and then the volunteer observes two hearings, is observed doing two or more hearings, and then is more independent; representation includes client prehearing conferences, client preparation, witness preparation, submitting evidence and exhibits, carrying out the representation, and working with the client after the hearing.
- Location: Unemployment Law Project, 1904 Third Ave., Suite 604, Seattle, WA 98101
For more information please email and include "UW law student volunteer" in the subject line.
The Housing Justice Project (part of King County Bar Association Pro Bono Services, )
is a homelessness prevention program looking for volunteer legal assistants committed to social justice and interested in helping people in their community by providing legal assistance to low-income tenants facing eviction. Nationally recognized, HJP is the only court-based, housing-related legal services program in King County that provides direct, immediate and real-time client representation to low-income residential tenants facing eviction in King County. Legal assistants conduct client interviews/intake and assist pro bono attorneys and staff as needed. This is a great opportunity for all law students (including 1Ls).
The Bilingual Legal Clinic is sponsored and operated jointly by Schroeter Goldmark & Bender and the Latina/o Bar Association (LBAW). Law students are needed to assist pro bono attorneys by conducting client interviews, intakes and Spanish interpretation. Pro bono attorneys provide consultations in the following areas: Immigration, Family, Personal Injury, Landlord-Tenant, Criminal, Property and Consumer Finance.
The clinic is held at El Centro de La Raza every second Wednesday of the month from 6-8pm.
To volunteer please complete the Volunteer Application Form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
The QLAW Foundation GLBT Legal Clinic (part of KCBA’s Neighborhood Legal Clinics) offers a free 30-minute consultation with a volunteer attorney. Volunteer attorneys are specially trained to discuss civil legal issues commonly faced by members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, and we welcome all clients regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Law students are needed to assist pro bono attorneys by conducting client interviews, intakes, and conduct research as needed.
The clinic is held every third Thursday of the month from 7-9pm.
To volunteer or for more information please contact the GBLT Legal Clinic
About: Open Door Legal Services
serves Seattle’s homeless population along with those in danger of becoming homeless. We provide legal services with the goal of eliminating barriers that frequently prevent people from transitioning out of homelessness. Our typical casework involves quashing warrants, helping to reduce or replace court fines with community service, addressing child support and medical debts, as well as helping with family law issues such as divorce, parenting plans, and domestic violence protection orders.
Student Pro Bono Work:
Student volunteers are not assigned to specific cases. Rather, they help with daily tasks associated with the case load. This includes conducting client interviews, writing letters on behalf of clients, researching legal issues, and advocating for clients generally in interactions with courts and agencies.
Time commitment can range from a few hours per month to several hours per week. This volunteer opportunity is open to all law students.
ODLS is a ministry of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, a Christian organization. All volunteers must be in agreement with the Mission’s statement of faith. The clinic provides legal services to all clients without regard to religion.
For more information please contact David Mace.
The Neighborhood Legal Clinics (part of King County Bar Association Pro Bono Services, ) are looking for volunteers who are passionate about helping people in our community. The NLC program offers free, limited legal advice and referrals to King County residents and those Washington State residents with legal actions filed in King County who might otherwise have no access to the legal system. The goal of the program is to make clinics accessible regardless of a person’s disability or lack of fluency in spoken English.
The NLC welcomes law students to volunteer for the Phone Line Intake Volunteer Document or or volunteer as a Clinic Assistant
The Eastside Legal Assistance Program provides free legal services to low-income residents of East and Northeast King County and domestic violence survivors from all over King County. Low-income families have, on average, at least one situation each year where they need legal advice. Volunteers help low-income individuals and families on the Eastside who need legal services but cannot afford them. Volunteers need to be committed to promoting access to equal justice, have ability to multitask, have excellent communication skills and have the ability to learn quickly and absorb new information.
For more information please see the Phone Intake Line Volunteer Document or the Legal Advice Intake Volunteer Document
To volunteer please download the Law Student Volunteer Form and email it and your resume to Brandy.