Community-Based Pro Bono Programs

Wayfind – Volunteer Microenterprise Clinic

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, acarton@uw.edu

Unemployment Law Project

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 John Tirpak and include “UW law student volunteer” in the subject line.

Housing Justice Project

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).

Open Door Legal Services

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: 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.

Neighborhood Legal Clinics

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.

Eastside Legal Assistance Program (ELAP)

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.