Pro-Bono Opportunities Pro-Bono Opportunities
Our co-op program provides students with countless public interest work opportunities, but for those who seek to participate in pro bono work beyond our program and school, here are some opportunities:
The Higg-Lew Leaders is a mentorship program between students at Northeastern University School of Law and seventh and eighth graders who attend Higginson/Lewis School, located in Roxbury. The first hour of the mentorship program focuses on homework help, civics instruction and literacy skills through the discussion of current events relevant to the community. The second hour engages student talent in areas such as art, music, gardening, sports and cooking. A weekly career series exposes students to a diverse spectrum of professional possibilities and participants are also eligible to earn monthly field trips. Finally, a portion of the program is dedicated to connecting students to productive summer enrichment experiences and high schools.
Topics of discussion range from strict court cases to broader topics dealing with current events. During the past year, the Higg-Lew Leaders have held extensive discussions around the Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown cases and have collaborated with an ACLU staff attorney to host a street law clinic on stop and frisk issues.
In addition to building sustainable relationships amongst the mentors and mentees, the goal of Higg-Lew Leaders is to empower participants to become agents of change within their community. The Higg-Lew mentorship program was started by law students Gabrielle Pingue and Sarah Spofford and is supported by participation from members within the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and the Family Law and Juvenile Justice Society (FLJJS).
Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)
The Iraqi Refugee Assistance Program (IRAP) offers students experience in managing complex immigration cases, which impact the lives of refugees. The program connects law students with pro bono attorneys to take on urgent humanitarian cases of refugees from countries such as Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia around issues such as sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking and persecution of members within the LGBT community and individuals. IRAP operates at law school chapters around the country, with an annual conference and support mechanisms. Looking to expand to related advocacy and events."
Legal Observer Training
The National Lawyers Guild Legal Observer program trains law students to observe interactions between law enforcement officials and individuals participating in public demonstrations. The Legal Observer program was established in 1968 in New York City, in response to city-wide antiwar and civil rights demonstrations. This program is one component of a comprehensive system of legal support designed to enable people to express their political views as fully as possible without unconstitutional disruption or interference by the police and with the fewest possible consequences from the criminal justice system. Students are trained by lawyers to observe and document incidents such as arrests, use of force, denial of access to public spaces and any other behavior used by law enforcement officials to restrict demonstrators’ ability to express political views. This program teaches students how to provide neutral evaluations on the constitutionality of government conduct. The information gathered by Legal Observers is intended to be used in later court proceedings.
Project No One Leaves
Project No One Leaves is an initiative supporting community organizing efforts around the movement for housing justice. Each week, law students around Boston canvass neighborhoods to inform homeowners and tenants about their rights and options — legal or otherwise — in the face of foreclosure and eviction. Project No One Leaves is in support of City Life/Vida Urbana, a grassroots organization that organizes tenants and home-owners facing foreclosure and is rooted in promoting tenant rights and preventing housing displacement. Northeastern University’s chapter of Project No One Leaves is facilitated through the National Lawyer’s Guild.
Street Law Clinic Trainings
The Street Law Clinic Trainings teach law students to host interactive “know your rights” workshops within the community — these workshops help community members to assert their legal rights in real life situations. The following Street Law Clinic Trainings have been hosted over the past year:
The Landlord/Tenant Training teaches participants about state and local laws designed to protect tenants, which are often ignored or deliberately violated by landlords. This clinic teaches participants how to assert their rights around issues such as evictions, rent increases, health code violations and discrimination.
Stop and Search Training:
The Stop and Search Training focuses on Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. Through this training, participants acquire a better understanding of their constitutional rights when they have been stopped by the police learn how to respond to police and discuss what they can do when their rights have been violated.
Workers’ Rights Training:
The Worker’s Rights Training gives a broad outline of the laws regarding workers’ rights and how to enforce their rights if their rights have been violated. Some of the topics of focus include safety and anti-discrimination laws, how to respond to unsafe working conditions, sexual harassment and discrimination. Participants also discuss the various resources that can be used to enforce the laws that protect their rights. Aside from substantive legal knowledge, law students in attendance are trained to host clinics within the community to equip community members with the knowledge to assert their rights in various situations.