Brooklyn Law School joins the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service in recognizing pro bono work performed by its students, faculty, and extended partnering community. The Law School has over 20 pro bono projects of approximately 400 students devoted to performing free legal work on behalf of individuals from near or below the poverty line in civil cases such as landlord-tenant disputes, custody issues or foreclosures, income tax assistance or a range of other issues.
“The Law School offers a robust public service program including many pro bono opportunities. Working for the public good and providing access to justice for underserved communities gives students invaluable experience, as well as the satisfaction of protecting civil rights or improving the quality of someone’s life,” said Betsy Kane, Director of Public Service Programs.
“The commitment to pro bono work is fundamental to being a lawyer,” said ABA President Stephen Zack. “This week honors the countless lawyers around the country who donate their time to helping people and causes that otherwise wouldn’t have an advocate. We celebrate all the ways lawyers serve our communities, strengthen our justice system and support the rule of law.”
The pro bono programs include:
Courtroom Advocates Program (CAP): Students assist and advocate for victims of domestic violence seeking orders of protection or filing petitions in Brooklyn Family Court.
Consumer Legal Advice and Resource Office (CLARO): Volunteers assist attorneys advising consumer debtors including victims of ID theft and predatory lenders and collectors.
Fair Hearing Representation and Assistance Program (FHRAP): Students provide meaningful legal assistance to low-income New Yorkers in crucial public assistance matters and gain authentic experience in representing clients at administrative hearings.
Immigration Court Watch, National Lawyers Guild Detainee Working Group: As a courtroom observer students gain hands on legal experience while safeguarding due process for immigrant detainees.
Law and Education Resource Network (LERN): This student-run organization aims to raise awareness, advance dialogue and encourage advocacy in issues related to education law. Currently it is working with Advocates for Children on the School Monitoring Project, to assist special education students in New York City public schools.
LawHelp/NY: A legal information website for low-income New Yorkers, provides pro bono legal referrals and self-help information to address civil legal crises. Through live chats volunteers assist clients with questions they have about New York’s courts, legal service projects and social services.
Law Students for Veteran’s Rights: Students devoted to representing veterans in the New York City area to solve common problems faced: access to earned benefits, housing and homelessness problems and information related to family court.
Legal Observing at Protests Through the National Lawyers Guild (NLG): Coordinated by the NLG, students act as legal observers at protests to ensure that protesters express their political views without unconstitutional disruption or interference by the government.
Motivating Youth Through Legal Education (MYLE): Students coach high school students in understanding constitutional issues and in developing and arguing their position in relation to selected Supreme Court decisions and provided fact patterns.
NYCHA Eviction Hearings Project (NEHP): Students act as advocates for residents in administrative eviction hearings.
NYCLU’s Project on Military Recruitment and Students’ Rights: Students learn high school students’ rights regarding military recruitment and communicate them to students and their parents at local New York City highschools.
Street Law En Espanol: A community outreach project sponsored by the Latin American Law Student Association, this program consists of providing a presentation about legal topics relevant to local Spanish speaking communities in Brooklyn.
Street Vendor Pro Bono Project: Students partner with attorneys at the Urban Justice Center to advocate for a more equitable environment for vending in New York City, from lifting the cap on vending permits and licenses to reducing the fines associated with vending violations, students have a range of advocacy opportunities in this field.
Suspension Representation Project (SRP): Students represent high school students at their Superintendent’s Suspension hearing, seeking to ensure that students understand their educational rights.
Uncontested Divorce Preparation for Battered Women: Students are assigned a client whom they assist with divorce proceedings after being trained by a Sanctuary for Families attorney.
Unemployment Action Center (UAC): A student-run organization devoted to representing unemployed insurance claimants in New York City, volunteers advise clients with various legal issues before administrative judges at the New York Department of Labor.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA): Volunteers assist low wage workers with filing their income taxes and ensure they receive credits to which they are entitled as well as other assistance.
Learn about more pro bono opportunities.