JD students traveled to various parts of the country to provide legal assistance to communities in need.
In early March, Boston University School of Law students spent their spring break providing legal services to low-income communities across the country. Accompanied by BU faculty, staff, and alumni, 23 students served clients facing legal issues ranging from asylum to discrimination, and housing. In addition, a number of students served organizations in Boston or their home cities, working for the week under the supervision of on-site attorneys.
Administered through BU Law’s Pro Bono Program, the spring break service trips began in response to Hurricane Katrina, when students traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana to volunteer at legal organizations serving displaced residents. This year’s spring break service trips placed groups of students with 15 nonprofit legal organizations across the country:
- AIDSLaw of Louisiana (New Orleans, LA)—Six students, traveling with Assistant Director for Government & Public Interest Careers Maureen Leo as supervisor, provided legal assistance to an organization that serves persons living with HIV/AIDS and addresses issues around estate planning, confidentiality and discrimination, and insurance and financial planning.
- Casa Myrna (Boston, MA)—Two students worked with an organization that provides services to victims of domestic abuse as well as survivors of commercial sexual exploitation.
- Center for Law & Education (Boston, MA)—The student at CLE worked at an organization focused on issues related to legal rights and responsibilities of students and school personnel, as well as key education programs and initiatives, including Title I, vocational education programs and school-to-work systems, and special education for students with disabilities.
- Colorado Legal Services (Denver, CO)—The student at CLS assisted in family law matters with an organization that provides services on issues including income maintenance and public benefits, housing and homelessness, consumer and finance, and health, including the legal rights of the elderly and the physically and mentally disabled.
- Court Service Center (Boston, MA)—At the Court Service Center, two students assisted walk-in self-represented litigants as they navigated the legal system.
- Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services (Chicago, IL)—Two students helped an organization that provides legal services to the impoverished, elderly, and victims of domestic violence.
- Legal Assistance Foundation (Chicago, IL)—The student who worked at LAF provided legal services in non-criminal matters to people living in poverty in metropolitan Chicago.
- MFY Legal Services (New York, NY)—The student who served at MFY volunteered with the Disability & Aging Rights Project.
- Michigan Legal Services (Detroit, MI)—Five students worked with clients facing foreclosure in the Detroit area. Brian Wilson (’96), clinical instructor for BU Law’s prosecutor program in the Criminal Law Clinic, supervised the trip.
- Pine Tree Legal Assistance (Portland, ME)—Four students assisted this statewide nonprofit, which offers civil legal assistance to low-income people in Maine. Betsy DiPardo, assistant director for judicial clerkships & the private sector, supervised the trip.
- Project Citizenship (Boston, MA)—One student assisted eligible, legal permanent residents overcome barriers to becoming a US citizen through this nonprofit.
- Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (Washington, DC)—Two students provided assistance to this DC public defender office that provides representation to indigent adults and children in the criminal justice system.
- Public Justice Center (Baltimore, MD)—Four students helped the Public Justice Center work with communities in Baltimore to confront the laws, practices, and institutions that cause injustice, poverty, and discrimination. Director for Public Service & Pro Bono Carolyn Goodwin supervised the trip.
- South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (Harlingen, TX)—Four students, supervised by Robin Nice (‘10), worked on asylum cases at ProBar, the national effort to provide pro bono legal services to asylum seekers detained in South Texas by the United States government.
- Volunteer Lawyers Project (Boston, MA)—Through this organization of the Boston Bar Association, three students assisted in providing legal services to low-income residents in the Boston area.
Interested in helping students engage with pro bono projects? Please contact the Career Development & Public Service Office, or for more information about BU Law’s Pro Bono Program, email firstname.lastname@example.org.