Pro Bono Program

Pro Bono Program

The Center for Access to Justice’s Pro Bono Program connects students with legal volunteer opportunities to address the unmet legal needs of people of limited means. Working under the supervision of practicing attorneys in the nonprofit, public and private sectors, Georgia State Law students are enhancing the capacity of law and legal institutions to do justice.

ABA Model Rule 6.1 encourages all lawyers to commit at least 50 hours per year to pro bono work. Georgia State Law’s Pro Bono & Public Service Recognition Program acknowledges the importance of this commitment by providing three levels of distinction for students who have completed at least 50 hours of pro bono or public service work.

The Center for Access to Justice’s Pro Bono Program connects students with legal volunteer opportunities to address the unmet legal needs of people of limited means. Working under the supervision of practicing attorneys in the nonprofit, public and private sectors, Georgia State Law students are enhancing the capacity of law and legal institutions to do justice.

All law students are eligible to participate. These pro bono hours count toward the college’s Pro Bono & Public Service Recognition Program.

Student Board

Class Representatives
  • 1L: Kiku Shinfuku (J.D. ’21)
  • 2L: Lina Machado Bejarano (J.D. ’20)
  • 3L/LL.M.: Danielle Pollack (J.D. ’19)
Alternative Spring Break Coordinators
  • Rural Georgia: Emily Gaston (J.D. ’20) and Colleen Hampton (J.D. ’19)
  • Lumpkin, Georgia: Sam Welty (J.D. ’20)
  • Atlanta, Georgia: Mariam Slaibi (J.D. ’20) and Garrett Groos (J.D. ’20)

Learn more about the Alternative Spring Break>>

How the Program Works

Current Partnerships/Volunteer Opportunities

Current volunteer opportunities are listed by day/time in the charts below. To sign up, scroll down to the project descriptions, and click the “volunteer here” link for the project that interests you. Note: you must sign up by 5 p.m. the Sunday before your preferred time slot.

Fall 2018 Semester Schedule
Monday
  • 9:30 a.m.-Noon: Legal Aid Society’s Family Law Information Center
  • 10:30 a.m.-Noon: Legal Aid Society’s Health Law Project
  • 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Legal Aid Society’s Estate Planning & Senior Hotline Project
  • 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: N.D. Ga. Bankruptcy Assistance Program (select Mondays)
Tuesday
  • 9 a.m.-Noon: Housing Court Assistance Center
  • 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Legal Aid Society’s Estate Planning & Senior Hotline Project
Wednesday
  • 9 a.m.-Noon: Housing Court Assistance Center
  • 9:30 a.m.-Noon: Legal Aid Society’s Family Law Information Center
  • 10:30 a.m.-Noon: Legal Aid Society’s Health Law Project
  • 3 p.m.-5 p.m.: Legal Aid Society’s Estate Planning & Senior Hotline Project
  • 3 p.m.- 5 p.m.: Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation’s Safe & Stable Homes Project
  • 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. GSU Veterans’ Legal Assistance Project (select Wednesdays)
Thursday
  •  9:30 a.m.-Noon: Legal Aid Society’s Family Law Information Center
  • 10 a.m. -Noon: Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation’s Safe & Stable Homes Project
Friday
  • 9:30 a.m. to Noon: Legal Aid Society’s Family Law Information Center
  • 10:30 a.m.-Noon: Legal Aid Society’s Health Law Project
  • 9 a.m. -4 p.m.: International Rescue Committee Project (select Fridays)
Saturday
  •  8:45 a.m.-Noon: Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation’s Saturday Lawyer program
  • 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.: GSU Veterans’ Legal Assistance Project (select Saturdays)
Anytime
  •  Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeastern Immigrant Freedom Initiative

 

The Projects
  • Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF):
    • AVLF Safe and Stable Homes Project: Under the supervision of an AVLF attorney, students may assist with client intake, interviews, or legal research regarding eviction defense and housing conditions litigation. Volunteer here>>
    • AVLF Saturday Lawyer Program: Students spend Saturday morning assisting an AVLF or volunteer lawyer with promoting safe and habitable housing and ensuring return of security deposits, resolving other landlord-tenant disputes, such as illegal evictions or damage to tenants’ property caused by landlords, or securing unpaid wages. Volunteer here>>
  • Atlanta Legal Aid Society:
    • Fulton Family Law Information Center (FLIC): Under the supervision of an attorney, students may assist pro se parties with completing pro se form pleadings available in the Fulton Family Law Information Center on a variety of issues, including: paternity establishment, legitimation, custody, visitation, child support, annulment and divorce. Volunteer here>>
    • Estate Planning & Senior Hotline Project: Under the supervision of an attorney, students may assist clients (mostly seniors and relative caregivers) with completing estate-planning questionnaires by making phone calls, speaking with clients about estate planning needs, and gathering information to complete the questionnaire. Students may also assist in drafting simple estate plans and working with clients to execute advance directives of financial power of attorney documents. Volunteer here>>
    • Health Law Unit: Under the supervision of an attorney, students may assist with estate planning to clients living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, cancer, and ALS. Completion of an Estate Planning Questionnaire is required to draft a client’s last will and testament, advance directive for health care, power of attorney, and guardianship documentation. Students may have the opportunity to interview clients in person and over the phone to complete the questionnaire. Volunteer here>>
    • Northern District of Georgia Bankruptcy Assistance Program: Working alongside volunteer attorneys and under the supervision of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, students may assist with intake and screening of clients at the monthly Bankruptcy Assistance Program in the Northern District of Georgia Federal Courthouse. Students can work individually or in pairs to gain experience with transactional law and client interview skills. Depending on interest and need, students may be able to continue working on cases beyond the once-a-month clinic. Volunteer here >>
  • The GSU Veterans’ Legal Assistance Project provides free legal services to veterans on a wide range of civil and military law issues including veterans’ benefits, rating and discharge issues, divorce, wills, landlord/tenant issues and others. Volunteer here >>
  • Housing Court Assistance Center: Students work with pro bono attorneys from Lawyers for Equal Justice and Atlanta law firms to assist clients in preparing to file an answer to a dispossessory warrant or eviction notice. Volunteer here>>
  • International Rescue Committee (IRC): Under the supervision of IRC staff, students will assist legal permanent residents with their citizenship applications at a community library. Students will gain experience with client interviews and document preparation and will aid in the efforts of the largest refugee resettlement agency in Georgia. Spanish language skills preferred but not required. Volunteer here >>
  • Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Southeastern Immigrant Freedom Initiative: Under the supervision of SIFI staff and/or pro bono attorneys, students may assist SPLC’s remote team with assembling bond motions, parole requests and supporting exhibits for detained immigrants incarcerated in the Southeast. Students may also support cancellation of removal or asylum cases or volunteer in-person as volunteer interpreters. Conversational Spanish, Haitian Creole, Arabic and Hindi or Urdu skills are strongly preferred. To volunteer, sign up here>> Include your affiliation with Georgia State and class year in your application.

Return to Pro Bono Program 

  • Student proposals: Students who have suggestions for additional partnerships with existing organizations should submit their proposal using this form or by contacting the Pro Bono Program student director. At a minimum, the proposal must identify the host organization (and supervising attorney) and an area or project of interest, which will ideally involve a regular, ongoing commitment, though one-time projects or events will be considered. If initially approved, the student director, in conjunction with the center’s assistant director, will contact the organization about supervising interested students and will create a framework for student participation.
  • Organization requests for student assistance: Legal organizations seeking student assistance may submit requests using this form or by contacting the Pro Bono Program student director. The organization’s proposal should describe the project, including the skills or substantive knowledge students can expect to gain and any skills or information that are a prerequisite to participation; describe any training that will be offered or required in advance; identify the licensed attorney who will serve as supervisor; propose dates and times for student volunteers; and specify the number of students needed. Preference will be given to ongoing opportunities, though one-time projects or events will be considered.
Log in to report your pro bono hours for Pro Bono & Public Service Recognition Program. Pro bono service consists of law-related service students render in the public interest and for the public good without receiving a fee or earning academic credit. Activities that qualify as pro bono include work that is:
  • Law-related;
  • Not for credit or compensation;
  • Supervised by a licensed attorney or law faculty member*
  • On behalf of one or more of the following:
    • Individuals, groups, or causes that are either under-represented in the legal system or that benefit the public good;
    • A nonprofit organization, government agency, public interest law firm or private law firm providing pro bono legal services;
    • A charitable, governmental, not-for-profit, or educational organization that works to improve the law, the legal system or the legal profession, including courts and legislatures;
  • Or training for work that meets the above criteria.

*Translation work done for law-related volunteering need not be directly supervised by the attorney/faculty member and can still count as pro bono service if all other requirements are met. Similarly, law-related work done for a member of Congress or local government need not be supervised by a lawyer or faculty member to count as pro bono service, but partisan work on behalf of a candidate for office or under the auspices of a political party DOES NOT qualify as pro bono legal work for this program.

Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 15-19-51) prohibits law students (and other people who are not licensed attorneys) from giving legal advice without attorney supervision. This prohibition includes researching cases, drafting documents or providing any other legal assistance without attorney supervision.

If you need legal services and cannot afford a lawyer, visit georgialegalaid.org or contact one of the following organizations directly: