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 Garmai Gorlorwulu or Serena Tibrewala.
Provides in-take services to the low-income community of Durham, NC with their consumer legal issues. For example, helping consumers file small-claims lawsuits (along with fee waivers) or answers to debt collection lawsuits and help consumers write credit dispute letters or demand letters. The group will create a referral list and distribute them in cases where we cannot help the consumers. Additionally, the group will provide research assistance to consumer organizations and host events and speaker series to inform the student body about consumer issues and careers in consumer protection. For more information and to become involved, please contact student group leader Mike Keramidas.
The Duke Immigrant and Refugee Project assists immigrants and refugees in the Triangle Area to gain a sense of security and control over their lives by focusing its efforts on research, resources, and outreach for this target population. The Project offers research assistance on human rights issues and prepares legal memoranda for representatives of asylum seekers. The Project also undertakes multiple outreach efforts to provide needed resources to immigrant and refugee communities, including through the provision of "Know Your Rights" training sessions to immigrant teenagers and adults, the distribution of literature detailing rights and responsibilities in accordance with immigration law, and by assisting with other public needs as they arise. For more information and to become involved, please contact student group leaders Hanna Nunez Tse, Luis Basurto Villanueva, Conor Daughton or Jennalee Beazley.
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 leader Jordan Ryan.
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 leaders Fleming Farrell, Flora Sheppard or Carrie Wang.
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 leaders Steven Dallas, Philip Golodetz or Emma Roberts.
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 Kim Burrucker.
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 leaders Michelle Lou, Adeline Park or Will Stupski.
Each year, Duke Law students have the opportunity to travel to a variety of communities around the nation, including New Orleans, Atlanta, Miami and rural North Carolina and partner with local organizations to assist in providing legal services to underserved and underrepresented individuals. For more information, please contact Kim Burrucker.
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 Kim Burrucker. 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 Erin Hughes or Meredith Thompson.
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 Kim Burrucker.
VAP 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 Courtney Kobren or Britta Momanyi.
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 Chris Dodd, Michael D'Ortenzio, Jr., Fleming Farrell, Sofi Kim or Jack Zhu. For more information and to become involved with the VITA-FSS (Foreign Student Scholars), please contact Kim Burrucker.