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 Sara Rips, Legal Aid Staff Attorney, (402) 435-2161 ext. 326 or srips@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 Environmental Regulation and Legislation ProjectResearch 

Volunteer are needed to monitor the Environmental Protection Agency and national and state environmental legislation. Volunteers will regularly share updates on new regulations, regulatory rollbacks, legislation currently being introduced and entering the notice and comment period, and environmental law cases. Researchers will submit research weekly and report to the ACS Director of Network Advancement. Volunteers are expected to spend a few hours a week researching. Portions of the project will be completed by April 2018 with the option for volunteers to extend for a longer period of time. Attorney supervision required.

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

American Constitution Society Presidential Nominee Vetting ProjectResearch

Volunteers are needed to research administrative nominees in legal positions. Volunteers will use resources like LexisNexis, Westlaw, and others to research nominees’ education, employment, and prior case work. Research can be performed remotely and requires approximately 10 hours of research. Once volunteers are assigned a nominee, they will have a few weeks to complete their research. Training will be provided and volunteers will have access to a database where they will record their research. Volunteers will report to the ACS Associate Director of Network Advancement. 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, TX or the Karnes Family Detention Center, located an hour south east of San Antonio (self-funded, travel required). 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.

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.

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 drafting pleadings, motions, briefs, 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  Sanjuanita Jaimes, Operations Manager, (402) 898-1349, or Sanjuanita@Immigrantlc.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). 

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.

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 Sara Rips, Legal Aid Staff Attorney, (402) 435-2161 ext. 326 or srips@legalaidofnebraska.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 Carol Cleaver, ccleaver@nevlp.org or (402) 475-7091 or visit: www.nebar.com/page/VLPProgram.