HOPE Advocacy Projects

HOPE students volunteering at homeless shelterThe HOPE Public Interest Resource Center teams students with agencies in the community in need of volunteers for both legal and non-legal advocacy projects. Students have the opportunity to assist supervising attorneys in a variety of practice areas and are afforded a meaningful opportunity to build practical skills while playing a key role in the promotion of access to justice. 

There are opportunities for both flexible and ongoing work. Projects are frequently added to meet the current need in the community as well as student interest. A number of advocacy projects are listed below, but please contact HOPE to learn more about current opportunities to get involved!

REMOTE PRO BONO OPPORTUNITIES TO ADDRESS COVID-19 CRISIS

HOPE is committed to supporting vulnerable communities impacted by the COVID-19 crisis through remote pro bono projects for law students. Current opportunities to use your legal skills to make a difference are listed below. Information will be updated on an ongoing basis. If you are an attorney looking to take on a pro bono matter, visit The Florida Bar Foundation's Florida Pro Bono Matters website here: https://thefloridabarfoundation.org/florida-pro-bono-matters/ or email umhope@law.miami.edu to discuss your interests and be referred directly to agencies in the community.

COVID-19 RAPID REACTION/SYSTEMS SUMMER INSTITUTE
The People’s Parity Project (PPP), the Systemic Justice Project (SJP), and the Justice Catalyst (JC) are excited to announce the COVID-19 Rapid Reaction/Systems Summer Institute, which will employ law students in full-time (or volunteer part-time) summer legal fellowships, working with legal and law-related organizations on the front lines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis. If you are a law student potentially interested in participating either as a part time volunteer or a full time fellow, click here to learn more. Unpaid opportunities qualify for the Pro Bono Challenge.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY TO ASSIST MIAMI CLIMATE ALLIANCE WITH REMOTE COVID-19 OUTREACH
The Miami Climate Alliance and other local social justice organizations have set up a Community Emergency Operations Center and are asking for remote phone banking volunteers to check in on and follow up with vulnerable individuals in the community. Volunteers are currently needed to (1) call hotels to check on availability for displaced residents and (2) follow up with individuals who have received financial assistance. Interested students should email Jeanette Ruiz at miamiclimatealliance@gmail.com. This opportunity qualfies for the Community Service Challenge.

REMOTE VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY WITH AMERICANS FOR IMMIGRANT JUSTICE

AI Justice is recruiting volunteers to assist with intakes by phone through their online case management system due to the cancellation of in-person clinics. Interested students should contact Orietta Lopez at olopez@aijustice.org for more information. This opportunity qualifies for the Pro Bono Challenge.

REMOTE VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY WITH AL OTRO LADO

Al Otro Lado, an immigration advocacy organization in Southern California, is seeking law students with immigration experience, especially those who are fluent in Spanish, to serve as remote volunteers. This work qualifies for the Pro Bono Challenge. For more information, click here.

PROVIDE PRO BONO SUPPORT ON LEGAL CASES RELATED TO COVID-19

A UNC law student has started a pro bono support network and if you sign up, you will be notified of remote pro bono opportunities to assist attorneys working on client matters related to COVID-19. Projects may include researching paid leave and work-from-home policies, drafting bail motions for clients with concerns about being exposed to the virus in custody, and drafting responses to eviction proceedings on behalf of clients facing financial impacts of COVID-19. Signing up does not commit you to taking on a project and any work performed under the supervision of an attorney will qualify for the Pro Bono Challenge. Click here to participate. This project is not currently affiliated with any university or larger organization.

REMOTE LEGAL RESEARCH DURING COVID-19

Several national social justice organizations need research help to fight for emergency legislation to keep working people afloat. Click here for more information and sign up here to support advocates working to fix the social safety net. Email sejal@peoplesparity.org with questions.

COMMUNITY SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES IN MIAMI DURING COVID-19

HandsOn Miami is a volunteer organization promoting positive change and service in the Miami-Dade County community. In light of COVID-19, they are now initiating HandsOn at Home, where you can participate in service projects at home and online. For more information, visit www.handsonmiami.org/at-home.

United Way has several remote volunteer opportunities that will allow you to make a difference from a distance. Visit https://unitedwaymiami.org/remote-volunteering/ for more information.

Stuck at home but want to help your community? Volunteer from Your Couch has opportunities to get involved. Visit https://www.volunteerfromyourcouch.com/?country=US for details.
 

Alternative Break Opportunities 

HOPE organizes opportunities for law students to engage in pro bono and community service during fall, winter, and spring breaks, both locally and nationally.

Children & Youth 

Guardian ad Litem Certification: Become a certified Guardian ad Litem on campus and serve as a court-appointed advocate for an abused, abandoned, and/or neglected child or youth. (Community Service)

Empowered Youth: This local non-profit dedicates itself to helping at-risk young men between the ages of 12 and 19. Law students assist with tutoring on Saturdays and also serve as mentors to participants enrolled in a Youth Entrepreneurship class. (Community Service)

Books & Buddies: This program targets children who attend local elementary schools in order to promote reading, writing and education. Each semester, Books & Buddies pairs law students with a local student to share and communicate the excitement of reading through the exchange of letters. Correspondence is traded weekly between the Buddies and provides an opportunity for each to learn about their reading pen pal. (Community Service)

hope student assisting Haitian womanCriminal Justice

Legal Writing Course at Dade Correctional Institution: HOPE has partnered with Exchange for Change, a non-profit that brings courses to people who are incarcerated at Dade Correctional Institution, to conduct a 6-session course on legal writing and research. Miami Law students help to lead the course, taught by Professor Pelz. To participate, you must attend a volunteer training conducted by DCI. After you have been trained and passed a background check, you will be certified to enter the facility to particpate in leading the course. (Pro Bono)

Sealing and Expungement Project: The Sealing and Expungement Project allows law student volunteers to team with local agencies—including the ACLU, the Office of the Public Defender and the Office of the State Attorney—to provide assistance to individuals seeking to seal or expunge their criminal records. (Pro Bono)

Disaster Relief

Be trained and ready to mobilize in the event of a disaster, such as a hurricane, as part of Legal Services of Greater Miami's disaster relief program. Learn how to assist in addressing legal needs, such as FEMA and emergency food stamps. (Pro Bono)

Domestic Violence

HOPE seeks to raise awareness about domestic violence, foster student advocacy on behalf of domestic violence survivors and create initiatives to meet the needs of survivors.

Students collaborate with several legal services agencies and community organizations dedicated to serving the needs of indigent and low income women and their families, as well as survivors of abuse, neglect, violence and discrimination, including the Legal Aid Society, Legal Services of Greater Miami, Kristi House, the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, No More Tears, and the 11th Judicial Circuit Domestic Violence Division. (Pro Bono & Community Service)

HOPE student at books and buddiesEmployment

Very few low-wage workers in Miami have access to pro bono wage theft representation. Without an advocate, low-wage workers have a reduced chance of recovering the wages they have earned. Most, if not all, of these workers live paycheck to paycheck, so the consequences of wage theft  can be severe. HOPE is partnering with local attorney Oscar Londono and the National Lawyers Guild South Florida Chapter to develop this student-run project where students will represent individuals in wage theft hearings with training and supervision. (Pro Bono)

Immigration/Human Trafficking

HOPE has partnered with local and national immigrant advocacy non-profits to connect law students with opportunies to assist attorneys with asylum, U-Visa, SIJ, and other immigration matters, and at Citizenship Clinics in the community. 

AI Justice Immigration Screening Team: Help protect the rights of immigrants in South Florida! Work with AI Justice's Family Defense Project to conduct community outreach, assist with Know Your Rights trainings and/or volunteer at intake screening clinics on Saturday mornings. (Pro Bono)

EEOC Human Trafficking Outreach and Education: Did you know that the EEOC can assist victims of human trafficking and sex trafficking? Help the EEOC’s Miami office raise awareness of the pivotal role they can play in this area by assisting with outreach to local agencies and communities. (Pro Bono)

Pro Bono Legal Research Project

Through the Pro Bono Legal Research Project, Miami Law students are teamed with practitioners from the private and public sectors to provide legal assistance on pro bono cases. Read E-news for current opportunities! (Pro Bono)

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

As one of the poorest urban centers, Miami is in need of direct services that provide e-filing and rapid tax refunds, allowing clients expeditious access to funds without charging fees for the service. That's where Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) comes in. VITA is a nationwide program that provides free tax assistance to low-income, elderly and disabled individuals who need help with basic income tax return preparation and electronic filing. All VITA volunteers receive training from the IRS and operate a site in conjunction with the IRS during tax season. To ensure that all of Miami-Dade County's diverse residents may access the services, tax preparation assistance is offered in English, Spanish and Creole. (Community Service)