Student Pro Bono Groups
The Clemency Project is dedicated to preparing clemency petitions on behalf of people incarcerated in North Carolina who have demonstrated rehabilitation warranting a sentence commutation.
Student volunteers are assigned cases that meet preliminary screening requirements. Volunteers review incarceration records and have an opportunity to work directly with clients. If all requirements for assistance are met, the volunteers work with a supervisor to submit a petition to Governor Cooper's office for clemency. For more information and to become involved, please contact D.J. Dore.
Coalition Against Gendered Violence
The Coalition Against Gendered Violence (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 Analese Bridges or Catherine Gorey.
Duke Fair Chance Project
The Duke Law Fair Chance Project assists North Carolinians in restoring their driver’s licenses or expunging their criminal records to aid with employment and housing options. The project helps to eliminate or minimize the collateral consequences of dismissed charges, not guilty charges, juvenile convictions, misdemeanors and more. Student volunteers review case files to determine whether clients are eligible for relief and draft petitions or client advice letters explaining their findings. The project partners with non-profit organizations or local government offices to provide services. For more information and to become involved, please contact student group leaders Kathy Zhou, Andrea Roos or Hannah Bloom.
Duke Immigrant and Refugee Project
The Duke Immigrant and Refugee Project (DIRP) 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 leader Hannah IsraelMarie.
Economic Justice Project
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 Injee Hong.
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 D.J. Dore.
Health Care Planning Project
Students provide legal assistance to cancer patients and other North Carolina residents who are interested in advanced care planning. Alongside attorney volunteers, students prepare Power of Attorney and Healthcare Power Of Attorney forms and Advanced Directives. Our goal is to help our clients ensure their voices are heard by assisting them with appointing trusted individuals to act on their behalf and documenting their healthcare preferences. For more information and to become involved, please contact student group leaders Celia Janes or Lucy Walton.
Human Rights Law Society
The Human Rights Law Society works to achieve three major objectives: (1) To provide a forum for students interested in human rights to share their ideas and work together to put on events and initiatives; (2) To serve the Law School and the larger Duke community by providing information and discussion about human rights; and (3) To make careers in human rights law a feasible option for more law students by developing connections with human rights organizations and building networks among Duke graduates. For more information and to become involved, please contact student group leaders Becca Mooney or Olivia Wang.
If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice
If/When/How is a national network of law students and legal professionals who work together because reproductive justice doesn't just happen. We believe that achieving reproductive justice will take thoughtful action and strategic activism: acknowledging the intersection of identities, collaborating across disciplines, and working toward a critical transformation of the current legal system. Ensuring that all people have the right to decide if/when/how to create families depends entirely on if, when, and how hard we fight.
The Duke Law chapter of If/When/How seeks to broaden the reproductive justice dialogue in the Duke community through lunch panel talks and social events. We are also currently mobilizing to create more community-based reproductive justice-focused pro bono opportunities for Duke Law students to engage in. Membership is open to the entire Duke Law community, and we explicitly encourage and support an inclusive environment. For more information and to become involved, please contact student group leader Hannah Kanter.
The student volunteers of the Duke Innocence Project work to exonerate victims of wrongful convictions by investigating claims of actual innocence. For more information and to become involved, please contact student group leader Gus Baler.
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 group leaders Emma Kotfica or Tori Simon.
Lyme Disease Advocacy Project
The Lyme Disease Advocacy Project focuses on advocating for legislative change, increased funding, better education, and the prevention of Lyme and tick-borne disease. There are a multitude of unique structural issues surrounding Lyme and tick-borne disease and many people struggle to receive unemployment and disability benefits, or even qualify for insurance coverage.
Students will work with Lyme disease non-profits to conduct research around these issues, write memos with their findings, draft legislative and advocacy pieces surrounding Lyme disease, and assist with educational programs. This project will be great experience for anyone interested in health law, public policy, government, unemployment and disability law, or anyone who wants to make a difference for a very common and misunderstood disease.
For more information and to become involved, please reach out to Luke Mears or Madison Pinckney.
Semester Break Legal Service Trips
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 D.J. Dore.
Veterans' Assistance Project
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 Madison Dunbar or Luke Mears.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Project
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Project (VITA) program provides income tax assistance to low-income and working poor individuals and families in North Carolina. In addition, students assist foreign nationals who are studying or working at Duke to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). For more information and to become involved, please contact D.J. Dore.