A "student group project" is a pro bono project that is organized and executed by a student organization that exists outside of the Pro Bono Program. Each student group has a Pro Bono Coordinator chair who works on conceptualizing, facilitating and expanding that group's project. Students can get involved in these projects by attending the group's interest meeting, joining the group's listserv or e-mailing the contact below.
For questions about group projects in general, contact the Group Projects Coordinator.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
The UNC Law Chapter of American Civil Liberties Union works to promote discussion and awareness of civil liberties issues and to safeguard the civil liberties of members of the community. The Carolina Law ACLU is a chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, which is an affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union. This year, the ACLU will facilitate a project for students to present information on the Voting Rights Act to local high-schools. They will also create and facilitate other projects throughout the year related to protecting civil liberties.
American Constitution Society
The American Constitution Society (ACS) is a national network of progressive minded law students, lawyers, and judges shaping debate on important legal and constitutional issues through the promotion of progressive ideas and by building networks of lawyers, law students, judges and policymakers dedicated to those ideas. ACS sponsors projects throughout the year, the first of which is often Constitution in the Classroom. UNC Law students will teach local middle school classes about the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.
Nick Tosco, Anderson Chang
Black Law Students Association (BLSA)
BLSA welcomes, invites, and encourages ALL members of the Carolina Law community to participate in its service opportunities! Details regarding the projects below will be released in the near future. Currently BLSA is working to help coordinate a Voter Protection Project with the UNC Center for Civil Rights and Spring Wills Clinic for underprivileged clients of the local community at the Jackson Center. If you are interested in participating in any of these opportunities, please send an e-mail to UNCBLSAService@gmail.com and indicate your name, class year, and general availability.
Student Contacts: Gina LeBlanc, Alexandria Bryant
Carolina Teen Court Assistance Program
The Carolina Teen Court Assistance Program supports the Orange County Teen Court by providing mentors for teen attorneys. Mentors assist teen attorneys with interviewing student defendants, preparing opening and closing statements, formulating questions for witnesses, and general preparation for cases.
Child Action is a devoted to recognizing the many legal needs of children, promoting child advocacy as a potential career path, and providing support to students who are interested in learning more about child advocacy law, current issues, pro bono opportunities, including the Guardian ad Litem program, and careers in the field. Please join us for our general interest meeting on September 4 at noon in room 4085 to learn more about becoming involved with Child Action.
Community Legal Project (CLP)
The Community Legal Project (CLP) is a student-run volunteer organization designed to provide free legal information to clients of The Women's Center in Chapel Hill. They're looking for enthusiastic UNC Law students to interview clients at The Women's Center on Thursday evenings, and write an informal memo answering the client's legal questions. This program is a great way to experience real client interaction and give back to the community! Law students can volunteer beginning the spring semester of their 1L year; information sessions will be held in both the fall and spring semesters.
Lauren Powers, Jessi Thaller
Death Penalty Project
The UNC Law Death Penalty Project was established for the purpose of increasing societal awareness of the effects of the Death Penalty on the community at large. The Project's goals include calling attention to the discrepancies presented by capital punishment on certain socio-economic and racial classes and examining the problems created by the process our legal system currently uses. The DP Project seeks to challenge the current system's capital punishment until a more legitimate and fairly scrutinized legal process is established that is more suitable for carrying out a punishment with such a large effect on society. We utilize the law school community to help moratorium efforts and pro bono work, in addition to presenting educational and inspirational speakers.
Domestic Violence Action Project
DVAP (Domestic Violence Action Project) sponsors speakers and programs to educate the university community about domestic violence, and promotes fundraising events to which proceeds are donated to local shelters and programs. In addition, DVAP will be launching a new pro bono project this year. DVAP will host a monthly domestic violence focused “Know Your Rights” presentation hosted by two UNC Law students and a supervising attorney. These presentations will include basic information on civil and criminal resources for domestic violence victims and will focus on providing a basic understanding of available options and expectations for court.
Driver's License Restoration Project
The North Carolina Driver's License Restoration Project was founded in 2009 by a group of Triangle attorneys. The Project's primary goal is to help safe, low-income North Carolina drivers who are caught in the "DWLR spiral" develop a self-help plan for reinstating their driver's licenses. The training for this project offers an introduction to traffic law and is a wonderful experience, particularly for those interested in criminal law (prosecutors, private defense and public defenders). In 2011, the NC DLRP was the recipient of the Pro Bono Service Award for Law Student Group Projects by the North Carolina Bar Association.
Education Law and Policy Society (ELPS)
The Education Law and Policy Society (ELPS) formed in the fall of 2010 to capitalize on Carolina Law's rich resources in education law and policy. ELPS consists of students, faculty, and staff with a passion for discussing and exploring issues ranging from assessment to funding. The law school is fortunate to include a number of former K-12 teachers and current education activists among its faculty, student body, and alumni. For the first time, ELPS creates a student-led forum to bring all this knowledge and experience together, to exchange ideas, and to provide opportunities for students to explore careers that impact education.
Charlotte Stewart, Jodran Cobb
Environmental Law Project (ELP)
The Environmental Law Project is an organization of law students who share an interest in the legal and political aspects of national, state, and local environmental issues. The primary goal of ELP is to expand the opportunities available to law students in the area of environmental law. Each year, ELP provides pro bono legal research and writing assistance for specific projects to local environmental organizations, including the North Carolina Conservation Network and the Southern Environmental Law Center.
Hispanic/Latino Law Students Association (HLLSA)
HLLSA furthers the general educational aims of current and prospective Hispanic and Latino law students. HLLSA's main pro bono project, The Latino Housing Clinic, seeks to provide legal information to the Latino community in the Triangle regarding Landlord/Tenant matters and mortgage foreclosure prevention. The project was started by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and Self-Help, Inc. The clinic needs volunteer interpreters to assist volunteer attorneys during interviews with clinic participants. Volunteers must be comfortable speaking Spanish. It is not necessary to be a member of HLLSA in order to participate in this project.
Immigration Law Association (ILA)
The Immigration Law Association (ILA) is a student organization devoted to cultivating student interest in the dynamic and fast-changing field of immigration law through guest speakers, networking opportunities, and pro bono work. In response to federal immigration raids around the country in workplaces and homes, ILA members give presentations all over the Triangle to immigrant groups. The purposes of the presentations are to: let people know that they have legal rights in the U.S. even if they do not have legal immigration status; explain how they can assert their rights in the event of a raid; explain how to protect their ability to apply for a visa or citizenship; and help them prepare if they are vulnerable to deportation. ILA also is working on an incredible opportunity to offer legal assistance to individuals seeking to benefit under the newly released Deferred Action program for undocumented commonly known as “Dreamers.” ILA is partnering with the NC Justice Center, the UNC Immigration and Human Rights Policy Clinic, and other local organizations to offer assistance.
Charlotte Stewart, Melanie Stratton
UNC Innocence Project
The UNC Law School Innocence Project® is affiliated with the Duke University Law School Innocence Project and the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence. The Project is a student-operated volunteer organization with oversight provided by a UNC School of Law professor and a criminal law attorney. The Project is dedicated to reviewing and investigating innocence claims made by North Carolina inmates. The fundamental goal of the project is to assist prisoners in challenging wrongful convictions. Additionally, the Project seeks to introduce students to elements of criminal law and investigation. http://studentorgs.law.unc.edu/ip/
Lambda Law Students Association
Lambda Law Students Association strives to make the School of Law a more comfortable and supportive environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students and other members of the School of Law community. In North Carolina, a statute precludes legal recognition of same-sex couples and their families. What this lack of recognition means is that same-sex couples are denied 1,138 rights and protections that opposite-sex couples may secure with a $50 marriage certificate. Most tragically, it means that when one partner ends up in the hospital, the other is barred from decision-making and visitation -- even when the person he loves most in the world is dying. Lambda is organizing two medical power-of-attorney clinics -- one here on campus, and one in Greenville, the hub city of Eastern N.C. We invite you to join us as we work with same-sex couples to fill out paperwork that will lend some security and validation to their relationships. Volunteer attorneys will train and supervise, so this is an opportunity open to 1Ls, 2Ls and 3Ls that will require a minimal time commitment.
Native American Law Student Association (NALSA)
The Native American Law Student Association (NALSA) will be organizing local and state-wide pro bono projects throughout the fall and spring terms. Projects will be open to all interested students, whether a member of NALSA or not. Projects will focus on a variety of Native legal issues and will assist both individuals and tribes. For more information or to be added to our listserv, please contact D.J. Dore.
Student Contact: D.J. Dore
National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG)
The National Lawyers Guild has been training and deploying Legal Observers to ensure individuals’ right to assembly and protest without undue interference or unconstitutional disruption by the state since 1968. Legal Observers are trained and supervised by guild lawyers to attend protests and protect the first amendment rights of all people by observing the behavior of government officials, including police. While most events take place locally, we do also travel to places as far off as Georgia and Washington, D.C.
Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF)
The UNC Student Animal Legal Defense Fund is an organization for law students who love animals and are interested in how the law can be used to protect animals. We are dedicated to educating the public on the law of North Carolina as it applies to animals, litigating on behalf of animals and their owners and advocating for policy change to secure greater protection for animals in North Carolina. If you're interested in assisting with projects like helping to incorporate a nonprofit animal sanctuary in Western North Carolina or litigating on behalf of a pit bull who was wrongfully shot by an animal control officer then please contact Reine Duffy, UNC SALDF Pro Bono Coordinator.
Veterans Military Advocacy Student Organization
The Veterans Military Advocacy Student Organization (VMASO) is a student group at the UNC School of Law that offers pro bono legal services to Veterans, assisting them in securing the military benefits which their prior service for our country entitles them to. The objective of the organization is two-fold: first, to provide pro bono legal services to Veterans; second, to educate the Carolina Law student body on Veterans Affairs legal issues.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
VITA provides low- and middle-income taxpayers in the Chapel Hill and Carrboro communities with free income tax assistance in completing and filing both state and federal tax returns. No tax experience required. All volunteers will be trained and certified according to IRS guidelines. (Training in second semester when IRS materials arrive)