Student Pro Bono Groups

Coalition Against Gendered Violence

The CAGV has a three-fold mission: (1) to raise awareness in the Duke Law community about domestic violence and sexual assault; (2) to foster student advocacy on behalf of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors; and (3) to identify and address gaps in services available to domestic violence and sexual assault victims in the Durham area. For more information and to become involved, please contact student group leaders Sara Saenz and Maggie DaRocha.

Guardian ad Litem

Duke Law students work with the Durham County Guardian ad Litem program to become trained as independent advocates to represent and promote the best interests of abused, neglected or dependent children involved in the court system. Students carry their own caseload, under the supervision of a licensed attorney. Certification is required for participation in this pro bono experience, which involves a significant training that takes place over a series of evenings early in the Fall semester. For more information and to become involved, please contact student group leaders Chantalle Carles and Erin Malone-Smolla.

Health Law Society Cancer Pro Bono Project

Students work with the Duke Cancer Center to provide legal assistance to cancer patients. In addition to providing “Know Your Rights” outreach, students assist in the preparation of Healthcare Power Of Attorney forms, and Advanced Directives. For more information and to become involved, please contact student group leader Sarah Chappell.

Immigration Education Project

The immigration education project helps Triangle-area immigrants to gain a sense of security and control over their lives by educating immigrant teenagers and adults about their rights and responsibilities under US immigration law. For more information and to become involved, please contact student group leaders Nate Bascom and Sam Egendorf.

Innocence Project

The student volunteers of the Duke Innocence Project work to exonerate victims of wrongful convictions by investigating claims of actual innocence. The Duke Innocence Project is part of a network of similar projects coordinated by the NC Center on Actual Innocence, and works in coordination with the Duke Law Wrongful Convictions Clinic. For more information and to become involved, please contact student group leader Alexandra Schlight.

Iraqi Asylum Support Project (IRAP)

IRAP is a subsidiary of RASP, focusing specifically on the needs of Iraqi refugees and asylum seekers. For more information and to become involved, please contact student group leader Kim Burrucker (Director for Public Interest & Pro Bono).

Justice Matters

Duke Law students work with Justice Matters, Inc., which provides legal services and preventative and empowering legal education to low-income members of the Durham community, in partnership with local non-profit and church organizations. For more information and to become involved, please contact student group leader Alyse Young.

Lawyer-on-the-Line

The need for legal assistance to those with limited means far exceeds the capacity of Legal Aid of NC. To bridge this gap, private attorneys throughout the state provide pro bono representation to many of these clients.

 Legal Aid is providing Duke students the opportunity to take part in this effort.  Under the supervision of a Legal Aid attorney, students will provide advice and counsel to Legal Aid clients over the phone. Cases involve four possible areas of law: consumer, employment, expunction and landlord/tenant law. Prior legal knowledge of these issues is not required. 

 Students will interview clients about the facts of the client's case, then research the issue presented and prepare appropriate advice. After the supervising attorney approves the advice, students will advise the client. Relevant statutes and regulations will be provided to participating students to narrow down the research process. Each case can be completed in less than 3 hours from start to finish. 

 This is a perfect opportunity to improve effective interviewing and advising skills, while also helping very low-income individuals who would not likely get the advice they need otherwise. For more information and to become involved, please contact student leader Caroline Sorensen

North Carolina Wills Project

Students spend part of their Spring Break helping to draft wills and powers of attorney for "first responders" and low-income individuals in North Carolina. For more information and to become involved, please contact Kim Burrucker (Director of Public Interest & Pro Bono).

Refugee Asylum Support Project (RASP)

Students in RASP assist refugees and asylum seekers with matters related to US immigration law. Students provide attorneys with research assistance on human rights issues, and prepare legal memoranda in support of applications for asylum. RASP also raises awareness of these issues by engaging in education and advocacy by sponsoring speakers at Duke Law School, and tracking and organizing political initiatives. For more information and to become involved, please contact student group leaders Melinda Goralczyk, Marissa Flood, and Andrew Willinger

Social Enterprise Law Project

This pro bono project is an initiative of the Duke Law Association of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ASEI) to support Durham-area social entrepreneurship by assisting local non-profit organizations to address questions and challenges related to non-profit incorporation. For more information and to become involved, please contact student leader BJ Dworak.

Southern Justice Spring Break Trip

Students spend the week of Spring Break providing legal services to underserved and underrepresented individuals in cities across the Southeast US. Students work on a variety of issues, such as prisoner's rights, mineworker rights and safety, family law, environmental law, immigration issues, and wills/trusts. For Spring Break 2014, group trips are planned for New Orleans LA (student leaders Jeb Dennis, Rebecca Cooper, and Bryan O'Brien) and Mississippi (student leader Elias Kwon). For additional locations to be determined contact student leader Marissa Flood.

Street Law

Duke Law School's Street Law program is part of a nationwide Street Law program through which law students provide practical, participatory education about law, democracy, and human rights by teaching secondary school students about the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Duke has two Street Law projects: Middle School Mock Trial, and the Durham Youth Home. Through the Middle School Mock Trial project, Duke Law students work with groups of middle schoolers to help them choose and play out roles in a simulated criminal or civil trial that is held at the law school, where law students serve as "jury" and a local judge presides. For more information and to become involved with the Mock Trial project, please contact student group leaders Philip Tarpley and Kathleen Wade. Through the Durham Youth Home Street Law Project, Duke law students work with kids in juvenile detention, to teach them about the criminal justice system, children's rights, the political system and democracy. For more information and to become involved with the Durham Youth Home project, please contact student group leaders Maria Khvatskaya, James Lambert, and Jonathan Hayes

Teen Court

Law students work as teachers and coaches to youth attorneys participating in the Durham County Teen Court and Restitution Program. The goal of the program is to reduce the chance that juvenile offenders will commit new crimes by holding the offenders responsible for their actions and providing insight into how the judicial system works. For more information and to become involved, please contact student leader Aly Rutsch.

Truancy Court

Law students serve as mediators for middle and high school students who have high rates of absenteeism. For more information and to become involved, please contact student leader Aly Rutsch.

Veteran's Disability Assistance Project

VDAP students work with Legal Aid NC attorneys to assist veterans to obtain disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. For more information and to become involved, please contact student group leaders Kendra Simon and Emily Johnson.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Project (VITA)

The VITA program provides income tax assistance to low-income and working poor individuals and families in North Carolina. In addition, students assistant foreign nationals who are studying or working at Duke to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). For more information and to become involved with the VITA program, please contact student group leaders Christopher Huong, Anna Johns, Seth Lowinger, and Dyna Zekaoui.

Student Interest Groups engaged in annual Pro Bono projects: