Give back to the community and gain valuable legal experience

Brooklyn Law School offers more than 20 student-run pro bono projects.

Participation in pro bono projects allows students to commit to public service, develop legal experience, and enhance their resume. BLS offers a wide range of projects, including nationwide programs like the National Lawyers Guild’s Legal Observation at Protests, citywide projects such as the Suspension Representation Project, and projects unique to Brooklyn Law School like the Foreclosure Legal Assistance Group.

Pro bono projects span a range of practice areas and populations, including working with alleged debtors, domestic violence survivors, entrepreneurs, immigrants, public benefits recipients, students, and veterans. The Public Service Law Center also host alternative spring break and winter break trips where students engage in public service in locations across the country, including the U.S.-Mexico border and Puerto Rico. The PSLC is always open to students interested in starting new projects.

Appellate Advocates' Parole Advocacy Project

Appellate Advocates' Parole Advocacy Project partners student volunteers with people incarcerated across New York State as they prepare to go before the parole board. Volunteers support applicants in preparing for parole interviews, preparing a packet to provide to the parole board, and in getting access to resources while they are incarcerated and if they are granted release.

Article 17A Guardianship Project

Student volunteers provide education, support, and aid to guardianship petitioners, meeting with and assisting clients in drafting petitions. Specifically, students often work with parents seeking Article 17A guardianships over their children who have intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and are nearing age 18. Working alongside attorneys with Access Justice Brooklyn, students are trained to give presentations about types of guardianships, the guardianship process, and the responsibilities of guardians.

Asylum Relief Project – Winter or Spring Break Trip

Every year, Brooklyn Law School students partner with a nonprofit organization during the last week of winter break to provide legal support to recently arrived migrants seeking asylum in the United States. In January 2020, students partnered with Al Otro Lado, working directly at their legal clinic in Tijuana, Mexico; BLS partnered with Al Otro Lado again in January 2021 and March 2022, performing remote legal work. In January 2023, BLS students worked with the Central American Refugee Center assisting with client intake, preparing individuals for credible fear interviews, drafting affidavits, petitioning for humanitarian parole, and advocating to protect due process rights.

Brooklyn Law Alternative Spring Break Trip

Every year, Brooklyn Law School students partner with a nonprofit organization during the last week of winter break to provide legal support to recently arrived migrants seeking asylum in the United States. In January 2020, students partnered with Al Otro Lado, working directly at their legal clinic in Tijuana, Mexico; BLS partnered with Al Otro Lado again in January 2021 and March 2022, performing remote legal work. In January 2023, BLS students worked with the Central American Refugee Center assisting with client intake, preparing individuals for credible fear interviews, drafting affidavits, petitioning for humanitarian parole, and advocating to protect due process rights.

Courtroom Advocates Project

CAP assists and advocates for victims of domestic violence seeking orders of protection in New York City family courts. Students help domestic violence survivors file petitions and maintain contact as necessary to ensure that the petitioner returns for his or her next court date. Students may also advocate for the petitioner before the judge on the return date. Students participating in CAP will gain court experience, exposure to New York civil procedure, client interaction and/or experience in domestic violence law.

Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship (CUBE) Consultation Center

The CCC is a pro bono project sponsored by Brooklyn Law School’s Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship (CUBE). It offers students a unique platform for gaining valuable practice experience and the opportunity to interact with local entrepreneurs in Brooklyn’s dynamic business community. Participating students work under the supervision of corporate law alumni and faculty, and alongside community partners and incubators including NYC Business Solutions, the Brooklyn Innovators Center and the Brooklyn Public Library. Consultations tend to focus on providing small business owners and start-ups with essential legal services and resources. During the consultations, students hear directly from the client as they work alongside supervising attorneys to issue spot and assess their legal needs and provide them with valuable information and advice related to contracts, entity formation, leases, intellectual property, tax and other issues.

Civil Legal Advice and Resource Office

Volunteers assist low-income New Yorkers sued in civil court by debt collectors, most often for alleged debts from credit cards but also from student loans, medical debt, rental arrears, and auto loans. CLARO was created with the help of the civil court system to give self-represented litigants a fighting chance against debt collection agencies. Become well versed in New York civil procedure, gain experience working with clients, and learn about economic justice issues affecting consumers.

Foreclosure Legal Assistance Group

FLAG is a partnership among Brooklyn Law School students, the PSLC, the Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project, and Kings County Supreme Court. FLAG provides Brooklyn homeowners entangled in foreclosure litigation with information about New York’s unique foreclosure process. Student volunteers provide assistance to community members, learn about foreclosure law, attend foreclosure settlement conferences, and gain direct exposure to the mandatory foreclosure litigation process.

If/When/How - Abortion Clinic Legal Observing

IIf/When/How is a student-driven national nonprofit network of law students and lawyers committed to fostering the next wave of legal experts for the reproductive justice movement. If/When/How works to transform the law and policy landscape through advocacy, support, and organizing so all people have the power to determine if, when, and how to define, create, and sustain families with dignity and to actualize sexual and reproductive wellbeing on their own terms. Through our clinic escorting project, students have the chance to support and help people seeking abortions safely enter a Bronx abortion clinic despite protestor presence.

Immigrant Youth Assistance Project

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is a form of humanitarian immigration status available for immigrant children under the age of twenty-one, who cannot be reunified with one or both of their parents due to abuse, abandonment, and/or neglect, and it is not in their best interest to return to their home countries. The Immigrant Youth Assistance Project (IYAP) provides students with the opportunity to interview clients and potential guardians, draft guardianship petitions, affidavits, and motions, as well as prepare clients for hearings before the New York Family Court. Upon completion of the Family Court piece of the SIJS process, immigrant youth are then eligible to apply for SIJS before United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Motivating Youth Through Legal Education

BLS students coach high school students to prepare for constitutional law debates throughout the year. Coaches help the students read and understand Supreme Court decisions and craft an argument to be delivered to a panel of law students and attorneys who act as judges at the debates.

Name Change Workshop

OUTLaws’ Name Change Project assists transgender, gender non-conforming, and other individuals with the legal name change process. Students aid participants with completing the name change petition and educate community members on the name change process, all under the supervision of an attorney.

National Lawyers Guild: Legal Observation at Protests

The Legal Observer program is part of the comprehensive legal support coordinated by the NLG to ensure that people can express their political views without unconstitutional disruption or interference by the government. Legal Observers work with NLG attorneys who represent individual activists and political organizations and play a distinct role separate from that of participants at demonstrations and protests. They are trained to promote police accountability by witnessing and documenting police. Documentation includes arrests, abuse, or civil rights violations. The presence of Legal Observers helps discourage police abuse, and the information collected by Legal Observers is used in all stages of defending arrestees and in lawsuits against the police or other government agencies when a person’s rights are violated.

Parole Preparation Project

The Parole Preparation Project, a project of the National Lawyers Guild, collaborates with and advocates for parole-eligible people serving life sentences in New York State prisons. Volunteers are trained to work alongside parole applicants, many of whom have spent decades in prison and have been repeatedly denied parole, despite their eligibility for release.

Petey Greene Program

PGP supports the academic goals of incarcerated and formally incarcerated students through high quality volunteer tutoring, while educating volunteers on the injustice manifest in our system. Before volunteers begin tutoring, they must attend a National Pre-Service Training and a Regional Orientation. Throughout the semester, volunteers may also participate in regional tutor development training focused on program specific tutoring practices. Current partner institutions and programs include: Close-To-Home Initiative, Manhattan Detention Center, Rikers Island, and Vernon C. Bain Center.

Puerto Rico Legal Brigade

Since 2017 (with a break during the pandemic), a student-led BLS brigade has traveled to Puerto Rico every spring break and assisted lawyers in counseling low-income individuals appealing FEMA decisions that denied them food, shelter and other necessary financial resources in the wake of Hurricane Maria. In the past, students have traveled to the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico School of Law and the Inter American University of Puerto Rico where experienced lawyers and professors certified them to carry out legal check-ups and other relevant legal work related to FEMA appeals. In addition, the brigade carried out supplemental research to coordinate and spread other free legal information and aid efforts for persons affected by Hurricane María.

Suspension Representation Project

New York City public school students who receive long-term suspensions in elementary, middle and high school can end up in the "school-to-prison pipeline”. SRP’s goal is to advocate for students to keep them in school and on a path to graduation. SRP provides advocates with comprehensive training on interviewing and counseling, hearing procedures, direct and cross examination techniques, rules of evidence, burden of proof, and developing a “theory of the case” so that they can effectively represent students and their families in front of hearing officers at NYC Department of Education Superintendent Suspension Hearings.

Uncontested Divorce Project

UDP is a great opportunity for those interested in public interest work, family law, helping low-income members of our community, or working with victims of domestic violence. Following a training by a Sanctuary for Families attorney, students are assigned a client and then conduct interviews, prepare divorce petitions, file the court papers, and conduct follow-up meetings with the client. A separate training, conducted by an attorney with Access Justice Brooklyn, will enable students to regularly assist clients in self-represented uncontested divorces. Students will aid their clients in initiating their uncontested divorce and through entry of judgment. Male and female volunteers are welcome.

Unemployment Action Center

UAC advocates represent unemployed workers in mini-trials concerning their rights to unemployment benefits. Advocates do everything lawyers do, including interviewing and advising clients, conducting direct and cross-examinations of witnesses, and delivering arguments to administrative law judges. UAC’s vital service doubles a worker’s chances of obtaining benefits, while also giving students meaningful and worthwhile experience in the art of advocacy. UAC may appeal to students interested in trial and appellate advocacy, labor and employment law, workers’ rights, and direct legal services.

Working Families Justice Project

The WFJP gives law students the opportunity to represent parents throughout the administrative review process and at administrative hearings to seal their record with the State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR).

Students work to ensure that New Yorkers are not denied employment based on unproven accusations of child maltreatment or reports that are not relevant or related to employment with children. Students assist attorneys and other advocates at Brooklyn Defender Services in getting clients’ “indicated” reports in the SCR amended to “unfounded” and sealed. Participants initiate administrative review of parents’ indicated reports, write client affidavits, gather and submit evidence, represent clients during administrative hearings with the state Office of Children and Family Services, and file motions to vacate Family Court findings of neglect.

The Public Service Law Center is a resource for Brooklyn Law School students. Please note that our pro bono projects are connected with clients through their nonprofit partners and not through our office, and we do not have the ability to respond to requests for legal assistance at the phone number or email below.

Public Service Law Center
(718) 780-0689