Pro Bono Initiative - Opportunities

OPPORTUNITIES

Below is a non-exhaustive list of opportunities for College of Law students to complete pro bono work.  Students may also seek out and participate in other pro bono opportunities not listed here.  To ensure pro bono credit will be awarded for the volunteer work performed, whether it is an activity listed here or found elsewhere, students should seek pre-approval from the Dean’s Office prior performing the work (unless already designated as "pre-approved" - e.g., CLEP).   

Access to Justice Walk-In Clinic (Legal Aid of Nebraska)Direct Legal Services

Legal Aid of Nebraska offers a walk-in legal clinic called Access to Justice (A2J). A2J regularly accepts law student volunteers willing to assist with the facilitation of legal services and advice to walk-in clients. Attorney supervision required. 

For more information or to volunteer, contact Muirne Heaney of Legal Aid of Nebraska, (402) 348-1069 ext. 219 or mheaney@legalaidofnebraska.org.

ACLU of NebraskaResearch and Project-Based Assignments

The ACLU regularly has pro bono clerking opportunities available for law students.  Work in this role would typically include a wide range of projects, including: client counseling, legislative bill drafting, drafting "know your rights" materials, legal research and writing, drafting pleadings and discovery, among other things.  Students interested in working with the ACLU should contact Amy Miller to inquire into current opportunities. Attorney supervision required.

Contact: Amy Miller, Legal Director, ACLU of Nebraska, amiller@aclunebraska.org or (402) 476-8091 or visit: www.aclunebraska.org.

American Constitution Society - Federal Regulations Research ProjectResearch

Volunteers are needed to help research regulatory history and potential legal implications of current notices of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register for a project allowing lawyers and law students to participate in federal notice and comment processes. The Federal Register is the “newspaper” of the federal government where notices for proposed changes to federal regulations affecting everything from the environment to financial regulations are posted. These notices provide opportunities for public comment on proposed regulatory changes. Volunteers will take responsibility for a policy area and research select assigned notices in that area. Volunteers will receive a weekly research assignment and will have a week to complete research and submit their findings to ACS. Volunteers are also welcome to draft comments on issues they are interested in. Volunteers will be supervised by ACS Director of Network Advancement, Ashley Erickson, and ACS Network Advancement Fellow Anuraj “KC” Shah. Attorney supervision required.

To volunteer, contact Ashley Erickson ACS, Associate Director of Network Advancement, (202) 393-6181 or aerickson@acslaw.org.

CARA - Family Detention Pro Bono ProjectDirect Legal Services

Volunteer to help children and families detained at the Dilley Detention Center in Dilley, Texas. Attorney supervision may be required.

For more information, visit www.caraprobono.org.

Centro de Las Americas/Latin American CenterMentoring

If you are interested in working with youth within the juvenile justice system and “at-risk” youth through the Joven Noble Program, please contact Steve Solorio at steve@elcentrone.org

For more information, contact Steve Solorio, steve@elcentrone.org or visit: www.elcentrodelasamericas.org/volunteer.html.

Clean Slate ProjectResearch

The Clean Slate Project is a faculty and student run program that is operated within the College of Law Civil Clinic. A component of the Project involves the collection of data from court hearings in Lancaster County where Nebraskans seek to have a prior conviction set aside, or a prior criminal record sealed. While most of the data can be collected from the court filings, additional valuable data can be obtained by observing the hearings. The collective data is used to identify trends in this area of law, as well as issues with the process. The data is also used to evidence the value this relief provides to Nebraskan’s seeking a fresh start, and supports further expansion of the laws creating clean slate relief. The Project is often seeking volunteers to observe the court hearings and record relevant information so it can be incorporated into the data collected. The time commitment is minimal, and reasonably flexible. The hearings occur on Monday mornings at 10:30.  Attorney supervision is not required. 

For more information, contact Ryan P. Sullivan, Assistant Professor of Law, sullivan@unl.edu.

Community Legal Education Project (CLEP)Educating K-12 Students on the Law

Educate students in Lincoln Public Schools about the U.S. Constitution by participating in one or more of the following activities: Constitution Day, 5th grade spring program, high school afterschool mentor program, high school panels to promote law school, and elementary school career days.  CLEP organizers will advertise opportunities throughout the year.  Attorney supervision is not required. 

For more information, contact Eric Berger, Associate Dean for Faculty and Professor of Law, eric.berger@unl.edu.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)Law-Related Services

A court appointed special advocate is a trained community volunteer appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in court. Attorney supervision is not required. 

For more information or to volunteer, visit www.nebraskacasa.org/volunteer/volunteer.html#footer.

Court Visitor for Guardianship MattersLaw-Related Services

Law students may volunteer to serve a Court Visitor as part of a program facilitated by the Office of Public Guardian (OPG).  Court visitors assist the court as it makes decision  about the need for a guardian or conservator for potentially incapacitated individuals.  As a Court Visitor, students would gather information about the potentially incapacitated person, visit the person in his or her home, collect information about their ability to care for themselves, and report their findings to the court.  The Court Visitor is an important link in helping courts obtain independent information to make good and humane decisions for folks who have very few allies or sanctuaries left in their lives.  Estimated 5-20 hours per case, and students would have control over the number of cases they want to take on.  Background and training will be provided (5 hours online, followed by 6 hours of classroom orientation).  Training time would count toward pro bono credit as long as the student volunteered for at least as many hours as the training.  Attorney supervision is not required. 

For more information or to volunteer, contact Linda Kallhoff, Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Office of Public Guardian, (402) 471-8839 or linda.kallhoff@nebraska.gov.

Florida Rights Restoration CoalitionLaw-Related Services

In 2018, Florida voters passed Amendment 4, restoring voting rights to Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence. The Amendment gave 1.4 million ex-felons the right to vote. However, not many have registered yet and the Florida Legislature has been debating making the restored voting rights more restricted than the amendment intended. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition was founded to help inform people about Amendment 4 and ensure it is implemented fully. This pro bono project involves helping the Coalition work hotlines to get people, especially ex-felons who can now vote, engaged. You don’t have to be in Florida to help with these hotline calls -- you can help from anywhere! Attorney supervision may be required.

To volunteer, contact Ashley Erickson ACS, Associate Director of Network Advancement, (202) 393-6181 or aerickson@acslaw.org.

Guardianship/ConservatorshipLaw-Related Services

Law students may volunteer to act as a guardian or conservator for a child or incapacitated adult.  In this role, the student will provide support and guidance to an individual unable to make important decisions for themselves due to temporary or permanent disability.   Students interested in this opportunity should be willing to continue as the person's guardian beyond law school in order to maintain continuity.   A three-hour training is required of all guardians (which can be counted for pro bono credit). Attorney supervision is not required. 

For more information about volunteering to act as a guardian, contact Michelle Chafee, Director of the Office of the Public Guardian, (402) 471-2862 or michelle.chaffee@nebraska.gov.

Immigrant Legal CenterResearch and Direct Legal Services

The Immigrant Legal Center (ILC) an affiliate of the Justice for Our Neighbors Network, regularly has opportunities for law students to assist attorneys in the Attorney of the Day project where attorneys meet with and represent immigrant children at immigration court for that day. Other opportunities may include draft writing, communicating with clients, and conducting factual and legal research on cases pending before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). Attorney supervision required.  

For more information on volunteering, contact Kylynn Wagner, Operations Assistant, (402) 898-1349, or email Get-involved@Immigrantlc.org.

Immigrant Legal Services Program (through Catholic Charities)Direct Legal Services

The Immigration Legal Services Program at Catholic Charities in Omaha holds 4-5 citizenships workshops a year, depending on demand. The clients who come through the workshops have been pre-screened for this immigration benefit. Law students are needed as volunteers to help clients fill out N400 forms (US citizenship applications). Forms are then looked over by volunteer attorneys. Workshops are always held from 8 am-2 pm on Saturdays and volunteers are given a training the morning of; most clients are compatible with English-speaking volunteers. Attorney supervision required.   

To find out when the next citizenship workshop is being held, contact Maria Nevarez at (402)-939-4615 or at MariaN@ccomaha.org

Individual CasesDirect Legal Services

Students can volunteer to work with a licensed attorney on any matter in which the legal services provided qualify as pro bono.  Students can assist the attorney in the capacity of "clerk" or, if senior certification is obtained, as a student attorney with the ability to provide legal advice and services under the supervision of the licensed attorney.  Students can perform this pro bono work with an attorney they work for, an attorney mentor, or any other licensed attorney willing to supervise the work.  Attorney supervision required; senior certification may be required.

Students would be responsible for identifying a potential pro bono matter opportunity and securing attorney supervision. Suggestions for supervision would be a current employer or attorney mentor.   

Juvenile Reentry Project (Legal Aid of Nebraska)Mentoring

Law students act as mentors to young people with civil legal issues reentering the community after being in the juvenile justice system. Students assist them with issues related to their reentry (sealing records, housing, employment, and education). Students would be working closely with the legal aid attorney, but will not be responsible for giving legal advice. Attorney supervision required. 

For more information or to volunteer, contact Lindsey Wylie, University of Nebraska Omaha Juvenile Justice Institute, slwylie@unomaha.edu or (402) 476-0113 ext. 1003 (e-mail preferred). 

Karnes Pro Bono Project - RAICESDirect legal services

The Karnes Pro Bono Project is a program designed to provide free legal services to families detained in Karnes County Residential Center.

Help is needed from volunteers who will provide immediate attention and relief to the families detained. The Karnes Pro-Bono Project assigns volunteers directly inside Karnes County Residential Center. The greatest volunteer demand is for Spanish speaking attorneys that specialize in asylum law. 

All volunteers must be able to commit Monday – Thursday in South Texas and pay their own expenses. Car-pooling with RAICES staff from San Antonio, Texas to Karnes County Residential Center is available at no cost. Attorney supervision may be required.

To volunteer, sign up here: https://www.raicestexas.org/volunteer/karnes-pro-bono-project-sign-up/?ms=hitherepartner. 

Lawyers in the City / Lawyers in the Prairie EventsDirect Legal Services

Lawyers in the City/Prairie brings teams of volunteer lawyers, law students, paralegals and paralegal students to communities where low-income residents work and live.  Volunteer lawyers and students provide free, limited advice on consumer, family, housing, small claims and immigration law issues.  Individuals who attend the event are also provided self-help court forms, legal resources and information, and referrals to legal service providers.  Events occur annually, typically in October, and are held in Omaha, Lincoln and Grand Island.  Law students will have the opportunity to work side-by-side with licensed attorneys in providing services to Nebraskans in need.  Attorney supervision required.  

For more information, visit the Volunteer Lawyers Project website or contact Laurie Heer Dale, Director of the Volunteers Lawyers Project, 402.742.8133 or volunteerlawyersproject@nevlp.org. 

Legal Education Clinics/ClassesEducational/Limited Scope Legal Services

The College of Law and Volunteer Lawyers Project occasionally facilitate community legal education clinics where group-based legal education and services are provided in a class setting.  Licensed attorneys and students assist in teaching the class, advising small groups of participants, and providing limited scope representation as needed.  Volunteer student attorneys can assist, and even take a lead role, in facilitating the classes and providing limited scope representation. Attorney supervision is required; senior certification may be required. 

For information on upcoming clinics or classes, contact Ryan P. Sullivan, Assistant Professor of Law, sullivan@unl.edu.

Mediation CenterDirect Legal Services

Students with proper training can co-mediate in small claims (Mediation class required), restorative justice (Mediation class + restorative justice training required), and family cases (Mediation class + Family Mediation or equivalent training required).  Students without mediation training can volunteer to help with case intake and management, as well as observe mediations conducted by trained mediators.  Even when observing, students have the opportunity to plan with mediators and debrief after.  In some instances, students may be able to work as scribes in mediations, child welfare cases, and large group facilitations, even without formal training. Attorney supervision required.

Contact: Sovida Tran, Director of Facilitation and Training, (402) 441-5740.

Nebraska Free Legal AnswersLimited Scope Legal Services

NFLA is a program operated jointly by the ABA and the NSBA through which Nebraska attorneys can volunteer to answer legal questions posted by Nebraskans who meet certain poverty guidelines.  Students can work with any licensed attorney to  answer questions posted; suggestions include a current employer or attorney mentor.  Attorney supervision required. 

For more information on NFLA, contact Ryan P. Sullivan, Assistant Professor of Law, sullivan@unl.edu or visit: https://ne.freelegalanswers.org/Attorney/Dashboard.

NFLA - Pro Bono Pizza Party!Limited Scope Legal Services

Periodically throughout the year, the College of Law will throw a Nebraska Free Legal Answers Pro Bono Pizza Party where law students and volunteer attorneys come together to answer legal questions posted by low-income Nebraskans through the NFLA portal.  Professor Sullivan will announce the events via email to the student body. Attorney supervision required.

Contact: Ryan P. Sullivan, Assistant Professor of Law, sullivan@unl.edu

Omaha Public Schools THRIVE Program
Educating High School Students on the Law

Nebraska Law students teach Omaha Public Schools THRIVE Leadership Club how to be responsible home renters. THRIVE is a club for migrant high school students. THRIVE members can use the information to rent homes after high school, and to teach their parents and community members (who may be new to the US and have limited English skills) about their rights and responsibilities as home renters. Law students also talk to THRIVE about law school, ULOP, and dynamic ways lawyers can help communities.  EJS plans to facilitate the program each year in the fall.  Attorney supervision may be required.

Contact: Equal Justice Society Executive Board or Faculty Supervisor Jessica A. Shoemaker, Associate Professor of Law, jshoemaker@unl.edu.

Pro Bono Research Fellows Program (College of Law)
Research

The College of Law’s Pro Bono Research Fellows Program matches interested law students with private attorneys in need of research assistance on pro bono legal matters. Research projects will range from small assignments taking only a few hours, to larger projects that may last an entire semester. Research fellows will work directly with the pro bono attorney, and may assist beyond research if requested. For new assignments, a member of the College of Law Library Faculty will provide one-on-one guidance at the beginning of the assignment, as well as on-going support, as needed. Students must apply to participate in the program. As part of the application and registration, students will state their interest areas and their general availability.   Attorney supervision required.

For more information, contact Kala Mueller, Director of Public Interest Programs, kalamueller@unl.edu.

Project Homeless Connect (Legal Aid of Nebraska)Short Term Legal Services

Each year in the fall, the Lincoln Homeless Coalition and the Veterans Affairs co-sponsor an event called Project Homeless Connect/Veteran Stand Down.  The event provides services to those suffering from homelessness, such as medical and dental care, housing assistance, benefits assistance and legal services.  Legal Aid of Nebraska sponsors a booth each year and has in the past accepted volunteer law students to assist in providing legal services to attendees.  Attorney supervision required. 

For more information, contact Lea Wroblewski of Legal Aid of Nebraska, (402) 435-2161 ext. 306 or lwroblewski@legalaidofnebraska.org. 

Project Homeless Connect (Legal Aid of Nebraska)law-related Services

Each year in the fall, the Lincoln Homeless Coalition and the Veterans Affairs co-sponsor an event called Project Homeless Connect/Veteran Stand Down.  The event provides services to those suffering from homelessness, such as medical and dental care, housing assistance, benefits assistance and legal services.  Legal Aid coordinates the legal services component of the vent, and is seeking students to assist in performing "legal triage" for participants who are in need of legal services.  Students, under the guidance of a Legal Aid attorney, will greet participants as they enter the "legal services area" of the event center, identify their legal issue or issues, and escort them to the appropriate legal service provider at the event.  Legal Service providers include the UNL Clinic, Legal Aid, Lancaster County Public Defender, Lancaster County Attorney, Nebraska Appleseed, ACLU Nebraska, Civic Nebraska, and Lancaster County Corrections. Students can choose to volunteer for one or more 2-hour shifts.  Training will be provided. Attorney supervision required. 

For more information, contact Lea Wroblewski of Legal Aid of Nebraska, (402) 435-2161 ext. 306 or lwroblewski@legalaidofnebraska.org. 

TIME'S UP Legal Defense FundDirect Legal Services

This is a program through the National Women’s Law Fund focused on helping victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment. The pro bono project is a formal long-term partnership with the American Constitution Society that pairs students for an attorney for up to a year. The program was started in the 2018-2019 school year with students from Georgetown, George Washington, and Columbia Law Schools and was considered very successful. This pro bono opportunity is a substantial commitment (10-15 hours per week for a semester) because you’re paired directly with an attorney. Attorney supervision required. 

To volunteer, contact Ashley Erickson ACS, Associate Director of Network Advancement, (202) 393-6181 or aerickson@acslaw.org. 

Tribal Government Capacity Building ProjectsDirect Legal Services

Law students would work for a tribal government on: the development and implementation of tribal codes (including for example, legislative drafting and codification of existing ordinances) and tribal legal systems (including, for example, supporting the formulation of tribal court procedures and rules). Other activities might involve legal education for tribal citizens or (in the future) supervised assistance with direct representation of tribal citizens in estate planning or other matters. Attorney supervision required. 

For more information, contact Jessica A. Shoemaker, Associate Professor of Law, jshoemaker@unl.edu.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)Law-Related Services

Assist students, low-income and working class individuals prepare income tax returns.  The VITA program is operated by the UNL Center for Civic Engagement.   In December or January each year, an email will go out to the student body inviting law students to volunteer to participate.  Students receive pro bono credit and do not need to know anything about taxes to volunteer.   All required training is provided. Attorney supervision not required.

For more information, email vita@unl.edu or contact Adam Thimmesch, Associate Professor of Law, athimmesch2@unl.edu.

Volunteer Lawyers ProjectDirect Legal Services

Connecting people with a volunteer lawyer is the core of VLP programs. VLP receives referrals from Legal Aid and seeks to place these cases with volunteer attorneys.  Students can volunteer to work with a licensed attorney on a VLP matter of interest, and can do so in the capacity of a "clerk" assisting the attorney, or, if  senior certification is obtained, as a student attorney with the ability to provide legal services and advice under the supervision of the licensed attorney.  Students can work on a VLP matter with an attorney they work for, an attorney mentor, or any other licensed attorney willing to supervise the work.  Attorney supervision required; senior certification may be required. 

For more information about VLP, contact Laurie Hill Dale, lheerdale@nevlp.org or (402) 475-7091 or visit: https://nevlp.org/non-lawyers/ to learn more about this and other opportunities.