The 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!
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.
Fall Break Asylum Clinic with Catholic Legal Services: Spend four days over Fall Break advocating for refugees and immigrants in the community! Eight law students will volunteer from Oct. 2-5, 2018 from 9am-5pm with Catholic Legal Services located in downtown Miami. Students will receive training and assist with asylum petitions, conduct legal research, and observe court proceedings. Spanish and Creole speakers preferred. (Pro Bono)
Spring Break: Help plan and fundraise for this year’s Legal Advocacy Spring Break! Applications will be released September 9th and will be due September 14th to the HOPE Office. In recent years, students worked with Legal Services of Greater Miami, Florida Rural Legal Services, and The Mississippi Center for Justice. Please contact the HOPE Office to learn about current offerings which are often updated based on community need and student interest. (Pro Bono)
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)
ACLU Second Chances Campaign Team: Did you know that 1.4 million Floridians who have completed all terms of their service and have paid their debt to society still do not have the right to vote? Help change that by assisting ACLU of Florida to educate the community to vote yes on Amendment 4 on the ballot in November. (Community Service)
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)
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)
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 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, perform systems mapping, assist with Know Your Rights trainings and 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)
Legal Services of Greater Miami Name Change Clinic: LSGMI is hosting a team of law students to volunteer at their offices every other week for 3-4 hours during the fall semester to assist on name change matters for transgender individuals and individuals who have been in the military. Volunteers will conduct intake, draft pleadings and accompany the supervising attorneys to court or speak in court, if a CLI. (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 sector 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)