Student-Led Pro Bono Projects

Immigrant Families Advocacy Project (IFAP)

Project 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: Long-term commitment that typically begins 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). Students typically commit approximately 30 hours to the project.

Training Requirements: TBA

Contact: general email: theifap@uw.edu or co-presidents: ifappres@uw.edu

Incarcerated Mothers Advocacy Project (IMAP)

Project Description: IMAP is a coalition of law students, attorneys, social service providers, and formerly incarcerated women who seek to change the rights afforded incarcerated and previously incarcerated women in Washington. IMAP supports incarcerated women by providing legal information on family law and dependency issues, and connecting parents to outside resources. IMAP offers monthly prison presentations at Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women, and monthly presentations and office hours at Washington Corrections Center for Women. IMAP also works to connect community providers, such as parent, chemical dependency, and domestic violence advocates and experts to incarcerated women by hosting a series of classes and trainings at our prison sites.

Time Commitment: Varies depending on project involvement

Training Requirement(s): None

Contact: Martina Kartman: mkartman@uw.edu

Street Youth Legal Advocates of Washington (SYLAW) & Record Sealing Clinic

Project Description: 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.

Time Commitment: Two clinics per academic year

Training Requirement(s): Pro Bono Core Competencies Training and a 2 hour training on the record sealing clinics.

Contact: Christopher McBride: chrisrmc@uw.edu and Derek  Peterson: derek-peterson@hotmail.com

Immigration Application Assistance Project (“App Help”)

Project Description: App Help is a student-led pro bono project of the Center for Human Rights and Justice (CHRJ). In partnership with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), the CHRJ App Help Project provides pro se legal assistance to unrepresented immigrants who seek asylum in the United States. Often, these asylum-seekers are fleeing from persecution and violence in countries like Somalia, Ghana, Bangladesh, Mexico or Guatemala.

Volunteers meet with clients at the Tacoma Detention Center, or at the NWIRP office in downtown Seattle. Working in teams and in direct collaboration with NWIRP staff, students help pro se immigrants complete their I-589 forms, draft declarations, and prepare evidence packets to present to the immigration court. Students who participate receive practical experience with client interviewing, international human rights research and immigration law, all while providing much-needed assistance to a critically under-served community.

Time Commitment: Varies depending on assignment, but volunteers typically commit to discrete assignments which can be completed in a single 4-6 hour meeting.  Volunteers may either assist a client directly or complete an evidence packet. Many volunteers will complete multiple assignments over the course of the academic year.

Training Requirement(s): Pro Bono Core Competencies Training and an App Help specific training facilitated by NWIRP attorneys. Additional refresher training is offered throughout the year.

Contact: Kate Shattuck: kates15@uw.edu

Environmental Law Society Pro Bono Research

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.

ELS typically partners environmental attorney Andrea Rodgers Harris who assigns research and case assistance on a pressing environmental law matter.

Trans Health Pro Bono Project

The Trans Health Pro Bono Project is an emerging project that seeks to provide legal assistance and support to trans people with administrative law and health insurance claims. The project will be partnering with local community programs and pro bono attorneys. Please stay tuned for more details when student volunteer opportunities become available.

Are you interested in starting a new student-led pro bono project? Not sure where to start?

Please contact Aline Carton-Listfjeld at acarton@uw.edu for a consultation. We also have an innovative course on social justice entrepreneurial leadership and management that can help provide you the basic tools for incubating your idea. Please contact Aline for more details.