Pro Bono Opportunities

Hastings students, faculty and staff are engaged in a wide variety of pro bono activities locally, nationally and internationally.  Here is a list of Hastings-affiliated and non-Hastings-affiliated organizations (most titles are linked to the organization’s website).

Hastings-Affiliated

  • Center for Gender and Refugee Studies: CGRS’s core mission is to protect the basic human rights of refugee women and girls by advancing gender-sensitive asylum laws, helping advocates successfully represent women in need of protection, and preventing these refugees from being forcibly returned to the countries from which they have fled. Law students at U.C. Hastings can work with CGRS through the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic. Contact: (415)565-4877 or email cgrs@uchastings.edu
  • GAAP: General Assistance Advocacy Program: GAAP provides drop-in counseling to over 2,000 homeless and low-income persons each year. Most of this population has experienced difficulties obtaining the government benefits to which they are entitled. Open between 9-12pm and 1:30-4pm, MTThF. Kendra Amick amickk@uchastings.edu or Ashley Toles tolesa@uchastings.edu
  • Hastings to Haiti Partnership: The Hastings-to-Haiti Partnership (HHP) is an annual delegation in which Hastings law students visit a sister law school the Ecole Superieure Catholique du Droit de Jeremie (ESCDROJ) in Jeremie Haiti. The purpose of the annual Delegation is to help strengthen the Rule of Law in Haiti through supporting legal education. The ESCDROJ is the only law school of its kind in Haiti. It promotes public service in the student's immediate community and for Haiti at-large, through rigorous and wide-ranging legal education, while welcoming students from all walks of life and differing political positions. By being politically neutral, the students are encouraged to work with each other for the common good.  Contact: hastingstohaiti@gmail.com
  • HHR - Hastings Hurricane Relief: An alternative spring break opportunity for Hastings students to do volunteer work in New Orleans. Contact:  Kristine Hanson hansonk@uchastings.edu

 

  • Hastings Prisoner Outreach- A student run program which provides support to incarcerated persons through correspondence, fundraising, education, and social and legal services. Contact: Edelmira Diaz diaze@uchastings.edu
    • Homeless Legal Services: Law students, supervised by a large local law firm, partner with medical students from UCSF to provide services to residents of a local homeless shelter one evening per week. Any full-time student at Hastings may apply for membership into this organization. Members will be elected through an objective application process conducted by the governing body of the organization at the beginning of each Spring semester. Members are required to participate in the Hastings Homeless Legal Services clinic. Frequency of participation is determined each semester. Contact: Ryan Tung ryan@homelesslegalservices.org
    • LARC @ Hastings - Legal Advice and Referral Clinic: This walk-in clinic is open to the general public with the purpose of assisting individuals with legal questions and concerns. Some clients have a particular legal question they need answered, while others have both legal and/or social service concerns.
      Contact: Nancy Stuart, stuartn@uchastings.edu
    • VITA - Volunteer Income Tax Assistance: Students provide tax filing assistance to Tenderloin residents one evening a week during tax season. The ABA Law Student Division's VITA program is an independent operation from the IRS. However, the IRS will be providing training materials, forms and technical assistance prior to and during the 2009 tax season. The IRS can provide VITA training for law students, alumni, professors and other volunteers with no tax preparation experience or even those with experience. Contact: Nancy Stuart, stuartn@uchastings.edu

Opportunities with Local Non-Profit Organizations

  • ACCESS Center, SF Superior Court: ACCESS helps people who need legal information but do not have lawyers. ACCESS is a free walk-in service created to help people help themselves. The Center does not provide legal advice or representation. We provide information on a variety of legal issues, and are a resource center with information, books, and staff available to guide an individual through the judicial process. As a volunteer, you will be working directly with people.Contact: Betsy Lee, blee@sftc.org
  • ACLU - American Civil Liberties Union: The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. Contact: www.aclu.org  (415)621-2493
  • AIDS Housing Alliance - SF: AIDS Housing Alliance/SF believes in a world where all people have a safe, decent and affordable home. Toward that vision we prevent homelessness for people with HIV/AIDS by protecting the housing we already have, providing resources to secure new housing, and promoting public policy to expand opportunity for all. Our services include:  housing referrals, back rent grants, move-in deposit loans, rental subsidies, credit wellness clinic, tenants rights counseling, job training & supportive employment, and public policy advocacy. AHA/SF runs a housing clinic on Mondays and Tuesdays starting at 1 pm. Contact: Brian Basinger, 415-552-3242, brian.basinger@ahasf.org
  • ALRP - Aids Legal Referral Panel: ALRP helps people living with HIV/AIDS maintain and improve their health by resolving their legal issues.Contact: Jennifer Schuster, jennifer@alrp.org
  • APILO Clinic - Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach: Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach (formerly Nihonmachi Legal Outreach), is a community-based, social justice organization serving the Asian and Pacific Islander communities of the Greater Bay Area. our mission is to promote culturally and linguistically appropriate services for the most marginalized segments of the API community. Our work is currently focused in the areas of domestic violence, violence against women, immigration and immigrant rights, senior law and elder abuse, human trafficking, public benefits, and social justice issues. Contact: Christine Hoang, choang@apilegaloutreach.org, or (415)567-6255, or info@apilegaloutreach.org
  • Asian Law Caucus: The nation's oldest legal and civil rights organization serving the low-income Asian Pacific American communities. The Caucus has always strived to defend and empower the Asian Pacific American community through a three-pronged strategy of (1) community education and organizing, (2) provision of direct legal services, and (3) strategic impact litigation.  Contact: alc@asianlawcaucus.org
    • Bay Area Children First: Promotes safe and healthy environments for children and families in foster care for reasons of child abuse and/or neglect, or who are experiencing emotional trauma due to family separation, severe dysfunction, substance abuse, domestic violence, divorce, disease, death, incarceration, or other family problems. BACF is a non-profit organization with offices in Berkeley and San Francisco. They provide San Francisco and Alameda County children and families with quality counseling, educational, and mental health support services. Contact: Sue Regan, SusanMReganMFT@gmail.com (510) 883-9312
  • Brazilian Alliance:  Provides Social Services to the Brazilians and Portuguese-speaking (Lusophone) communities living in the Bay Area by building alliances with local, state, federal, and international community organizations. They lead a Legal Clinic, Education Clinic, Access to Health Clinic, and Domestic Violence Clinic. Contact: contato@brazilianalliance.org  (415) 472-2950
  • CA Reentry Program: Seeking Reentry Advisors to come in once a week, meet with prisoners, and research their requests. The time commitment is approximately 3 hours on site, plus 3-5 hours a week for 1-year. You will be required to attend two 2-hour trainings and submit your resume, a volunteer questionnaire, and data for a background check. The orientation will cover prison rules and regulations and give an overview of the program and programming in prisons in general. Contact: volunteer@ca-reentry.org
  • California Lawyers for the Arts: The mission of California Lawyers for the Arts is to establish a bridge between the arts and the legal communities so that: artists and art groups may gain greater competence in handling legal and business aspects of their creative activities; the legal profession may become more aware of and involved in issues affecting artists and the arts community and, the law may become more responsive to the needs and interests of the arts community. Contact: (415)775-7200 or cla@calawyersforthearts.org
  • CAP - California Appellate Project: CAP-SF assists private counsel appointed by the California Supreme Court to represent indigent defendants in capital cases challenging their convictions and sentences on direct appeal and through habeas corpus proceedings, and provides them with professional training and litigation resource materials. In addition, CAP-SF assists unrepresented death row inmates by collecting and preserving evidence for their post-conviction claims, and by providing advocacy as needed during the period of incarceration before counsel is appointed. CAP-SF also consults, at the request of the judiciary, on policy matters regarding indigent defense representation in capital cases. Contact: (415)495-0500
  • CASA - SF Court Appointed Special Advocates: San Francisco CASA recruits, screens, trains, and supervises volunteers who advocate for and mentor these children one-on-one, helping to find safe and permanent home for them and addressing their educational, healthcare, and other urgent needs. CASA's are the only volunteers that are appointed by a judge and empowered to stand up for an abused and neglected child in court. We ask each volunteer to make an 18-month commitment to serve on a case, spending 2-4 hours per week. If you would like to learn more about becoming an SFCASA volunteer, please join us at one of our upcoming 45 minute Information Sessions. Contact: Leah Cerri, leah@sfcasa.org or (415)399-6132
  • Center for Justice and Accountability: The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) is an international human rights organization dedicated to ending torture and other severe human rights abuses around the world and advancing the rights of survivors to seek truth, justice and redress. CJA uses litigation to hold perpetrators individually accountable for human rights abuses, develop human rights law, and advance the rule of law in countries transitioning from periods of abuse. Contact: Natasha Fain, nfain@cja.org or (415)544-0444
  • Center for Youth Development through Law: Provides an educational pipeline program for high school students from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups who are interested in law careers. Currently seeking volunteers for the Mock Trial Program. Contact: Nancy Schiff,  nschiff@youthlawworks.org
  • Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice: The direct service programs demonstrate how alternatives to incarceration can be successful, not only in reducing overburdened correctional facilities, but also in reducing recidivism rates. CJCJ provides a full continuum of services to youth facing or transitioning from the juvenile justice system. Contact: (415)621-5661 http://www.cjcj.org/
  • Child Care Law Center: All parents have the right to work without worrying about their children's wellbeing. The Child Care Law Center breaks down barriers to child care for low-income, working parents because without affordable, good child care they cannot support their families. Currently looking for volunteers to help write or update their Question & Answer publications. Volunteers may also assist with the legal information service, preparing information for clients and referring clients to the appropriate resources. Contact: Claire Ramsey, cramsey@childcarelaw.org or (415)558-8005 General Info: info@childcarelaw.org
    • Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto- CLSEPA: provides free and low cost legal services to low-income and under-served individuals and families in East Palo Alto, Eastern Menlo Park, and the surrounding areas. CLSEPA delivers high quality services through direct representation, advice to pro per litigants and community education. During the academic year, law students will work under the supervision of Program Directors on cases in either the Immigration or Housing program. CLSEPA volunteers will have extensive client contact, from initial interviews to ongoing work with our clients. They are responsible for many phases of legal work ranging from initial issue spotting to substantive case work. Although not required, spoken and/or written Spanish language capacity is helpful. CLSEPA requires all pro bono volunteers to commit to a minimum of 10 weeks, of 8 hours each week. Send resume and letter of interest. Contact: volunteer@clsepa.org
    • CROC- Cooperative Restraining Order Clinic: The Cooperative Restraining Order Clinic (CROC) is a collaborative city-wide project which helps domestic violence survivors in San Francisco get restraining orders against their abusers. The services are free and confidential. It is the main way in which women in San Francisco obtain restraining orders. Contact: Emberly C. Cross, emberly@roclinic.org
    • East Bay Community Law Center: Since its founding in 1988 by law students at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law, EBCLC has become the largest provider of free legal services in the East Bay and a nationally-recognized poverty law clinic. Contact: Martha Brown mbrown@ebclc.org
    • East Bay Sanctuary Covenant: East Bay Sanctuary is dedicated to the support, protection, and advocacy of the rights of immigrants and refugees. Formed in 1982 to provide refuge to Central Americans fleeing war and persecution, it has grown to reach out to immigrants and refugees from over 30 countries from all over the world.
      Contact: Michael Smith, mike@eastbaysanctuary.org or (510)540-5296
    •  Eviction Defense Collaborative: The Eviction Defense Collaborative provides counseling and legal help to tenants during the eviction process. Programs include preparing a response to the lawsuit, limited representation at the settlement conference, and preparation of requests for delays of the sheriff's eviction.
      Contact: volunteer@evictiondefense.org 
    • Family Law Facilitator's Office, SF Superior Court: Family Code section 10000 requires the superior court in each of California's 58 counties to maintain an Office of the Family Law Facilitator to provide self represented parties with education, information, and assistance with child support, spousal support, and health insurance issues. Contact: Adrienne McMillan, amcmillan@sftc.org or Diana Leonida, dleonida@sftc.org
    • GI Rights Hotline: Get trained to assist service members in AWOL information, conscientious objection claims, disability discharges, hardship separation, fraudulent/defective enlistment, and more. Law students support GIs by providing accurate and timely information as well as support and advocacy for the decisions that they make. Contact: Sandra Schwartz, 415-565-0201 x 24
    • Homeless Action Center- HAC: provides free public benefits advocacy to people who are homeless and mentally ill in Alameda County. In addition to helping clients obtain sustainable income and health insurance, HAC also works with community stakeholders to reduce the harms associated with a lack of housing and healthcare. Combining professionalism and compassion, HAC provides barrier-free legal assistance to the hardest to reach populations. Contact: mgilg@homelessactioncenter.org
    • Immigration Center for Women and Children: A non-profit legal organization providing affordable immigration services to underrepresented women and children in Los Angeles and San Francisco. ICWC strives to provide security and stability for children who are abused, abandoned or neglected and for women and children who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. eight hours per week minimum. To apply to the San Francisco office, please send a cover letter and resume. Contact: susan@icwclaw.org.
    • International Institute of the Bay Area: The Institute’s Legal Department provides high-quality assistance to low-income immigrants. The program currently provides information and services to over 1,500 people each year from Latin America, Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. Services include workshops and one-on-one consultations, assistance in filing family petitions and citizenship applications. IIBA is a national leader in application assistance to survivors of domestic violence and other serious crimes under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (U visa).  Contact: www.iibayarea.org or Justin Skinner jskinner@iibayarea.org
    • Justice Now: Justice Now is the first teaching law clinic in the country solely focused on the needs of women prisoners. Interns and staff provide legal services in areas of need identified by women prisoners.  Contact: Cynthia Chandler, cynthia@jnow.org
    • La Raza Centro Legal Immigration Center: La Raza Centro Legal is a community-based legal organization dedicated to empowering Latino, immigrant and low-income communities of San Francisco to advocate for their civil and human rights. We combine legal services, organizing, advocacy, and social services to build grassroots power and alliances towards creating a movement for a just society. Contact: Bianca Sierra, biancasierra@centrolegal.org
    • Law Foundation of Silicon Valley: The Law Foundation of Silicon Valley provides free legal services to residents in need living in Santa Clara county.  They have several ongoing volunteer opportunities. Please visit http://lawfoundation.org/probono.asp and http://www.lawfoundation.org/services.asp for more information. Contact: Allison Barnum for all pro bono opportunities allison.barnum@lawfoundation.org (408) 280-2412
  • Law Students for Reproductive Justice: Reproductive justice will exist when all people can exercise the rights and access the resources they need to thrive and to decide whether, when, and how to have and parent children with dignity, free from discrimination, coercion, or violence. If you would like to volunteer, please respond with a short description of your area of expertise and availability. Contact: Info@LSRJ.org
  • Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights: The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights champions the legal rights of people of color, poor people, immigrants and refugees, with a special commitment to African-Americans.  Contact: Silvia Contreras scontreras@lccr.com or Dave Rorick at (415) 543- 9444 dave@lccr.com
    • Legal Aid Society of San Mateo: Legal Aid welcomes attorneys, paralegals, and law students who want to make a direct impact on the San Mateo community. Law students typically work in Legal Aid's advanced healthcare directive clinic, held every summer at various senior center and senior housing sites in Half Moon Bay, Belmont, Pacifica, East Palo Alto, South San Francisco and San Mateo. Contact: Janet Sheldon,  jbseldon@legalaidsmc.org
    • Legal Services for Children: Legal Services for Children (LSC) provides free legal and social services to children and youth in order to stabilize their lives and help them realize their full potential. LSC provides every client with comprehensive, holistic services to enable them to achieve safety and stability, and avoid unnecessary placement in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. Contact: Kirsten Strobel,  kirsten@lsc-sf.org
    • ORAM: The leading NGO providing advocacy, representation and community education on refugees escaping persecution based on their sexual orientation, sexual identity or gender. Founded in 2008, ORAM advocates for the protection of LGBTI and gender-based refugees, justice and fairness in the adjudication of their claims, adequate resettlement opportunities and an understanding of their plight from a human rights perspective. To accomplish its mission, ORAM works collaboratively with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the US Department of State and a wide variety of NGOs and academic institutions. Contact: volunteer@oraminternational.org
    • Prison Activist Resource Center- PARC: A prison abolitionist group committed to exposing and challenging all forms of institutionalized racism, sexism, able-ism, heterosexism, and classism, specifically within the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC). The PARC office is located in Oakland and has several ongoing volunteer positions including working with the Prisoner Support Project. Please visit http://www.prisonactivist.org/about/volunteer for a complete listing. Contact: 510-893-4648
  • SF Tenants Union: The SFTU fights for the rights of tenants and for the preservation of affordable housing in San Francisco for 40 years. They operate a drop in counseling clinic for both members and non-members. Contact: volunteer@sftu.org
  • Tenants Together: Become a Tenant Foreclosure Hotline Counselor and help tenants in foreclosure situations learn and assert their rights in order to stay in their homes for as long as possible, keep their utilities on, and recover their security deposits after their landlords are foreclosed upon.  Tenants are innocent victims of a foreclosure crisis they have done nothing to create.  Despite all the media attention given to homeowners, almost 40% of foreclosed units are rentals. Banks acquiring tenant-occupied foreclosed properties, routinely mislead and harass tenants into leaving their homes prematurely.  You can help by becoming a trained, volunteer Tenant Foreclosure Counselor. Contact:  Please fill out a volunteer form found at the bottom of their volunteer site and send it to Aimee at aimee@tenantstogether.org
  • Transgender Law Center: The Transgender Law Center champions the ideal that everyone should be treated fairly and equally. By working for and with transgender people and our allies to change laws, policies and attitudes, the Transgender Law Center makes it possible for us all to be who we are and live safe and fulfilling lives. Contact: info@transgenderlawcenter.org  
  • VLSP - Volunteer Legal Services Program: Every year the Volunteer Legal Services Program (VLSP) serves thousands of people in desperate need of legal help. This help is provided with the assistance of volunteers throughout the Bay Area for more than 30 years. This award-winning program changes lives by using a holistic approach that offers social services as well as legal assistance.  Contact: vlsp@sfbar.org  or (415)982-1600
  • Youth Law Center: The Youth Law Center is a public interest law firm that works to protect children in the nation's foster care and juvenile justice systems from abuse and neglect, and to ensure that they receive the necessary support and services to become healthy and productive adults. YLC leads the efforts to guarantee babies in care and teen parents a healthy start.  Contact: Mamie Yee myee@ylc.org or info@ylc.org or (415)543-3379

Opportunities with Local Community Service & Public Service Organizations

 

  • Equal Rights California- EQCA: Looking for hardworking individuals with a passion for equal rights in California to assist with data entry, phone-banking, throwing events. Contact: Tony Hoang, tony@eqca.org or (323)848-9801
  • Habitat for Humanity: A nonprofit founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. We build with people in need regardless of race or religion. We welcome volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds. Review the volunteer opportunities and contact the choices that interest you.
  • Huckleberry Youth Programs: We seek to empower young people to develop and maintain healthy relationships as well as promote their talents, ideas, leadership and health; to assist youth and their families in overcoming the obstacles they may encounter, which can include family concerns, drug and alcohol abuse, mental health challenges, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, violence, social and economic inequities, and physical and sexual abuse; and to assist clients in navigating complex social welfare, educational and juvenile justice systems.  Contact: Vicki Schwartz, vschwartz@huckleberryyouth.org or (415)668-2622, ext. 220
  • Tenderloin Afterschool Program- The Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Center is making a difference for thousands of low-income people, while improving the Tenderloin neighborhood for all San Franciscans. Contact: Julie Doherty, jdoherty@tndc.org or (415)358-3965
  • Vietnamese Youth Development Center: VYDC’s goal is to help young people transition successfully into adulthood. We provide comprehensive case management, employment, educational services and social enriching activities.  VYDC diverts youth from the juvenile justice system into meaningful programs. VYDC advocates for the needs of low-income youth in the neighborhood and develop youth leadership in the Tenderloin community and throughout San Francisco. Contact: info@vydc.org
  • YMCA: The Central YMCA located on Golden Gate Avenue, adjacent to Hastings, has a large number of volunteer opportunities for students.  Many of these opportunities are non-law related but as community service work may count toward pro bono recognition.  View the full array of volunteer opportunities from working with youth to leading exercise classes. Contact: Contact: Leslie Truong ltruong@ymcasf.org (415) 447-2514

This list is not all inclusive. There are many more organizations to volunteer with. Find more pro bono opportunities at probono.net/bayarea, an online resource for the entire Bay Area.

 

If you would like assistance in locating an opportunity that matches your particular interest, contact Dean Nancy Stuart, Dean of Experiential Learning at 415.565.4620 or stuartn@uchastings.edu