Students doing pro bono work are under the supervision of practicing attorneys.

The Eric Neisser Program has long been devoted to nurturing an ethic of service in our students. To that end, we have created partnerships with numerous local and national organizations through which our students can hone their legal skills while providing much needs access to justice. Our students work not only with clinics and faculty, but also with a broad range of community partners in providing law-related services, including the ACLU of New Jersey, Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, the Education Law Center, and the Center for Constitutional Rights. 

During Fall 2014, students revived the Morris Stern Bankruptcy Legal Assistance Pro Bono Project through which students partner with pro bono attorneys in representing clients in bankruptcy cases. In addition, in October 2014 we launched the LGBT Legal Assistance Pro Bono Project. Finally, our Street Law program continues to train students to provide law-related education to middle- and high- school students and to provide mentoring to young people in the New Youth Court Program.  

Each year, the law school honors those students who exceed the requirement and notes their participation on their transcript. During the last two academic years, 60% of our students exceeded the 35 hours recommended by Rutgers Law.

Approved Placements

AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION

Practice Areas: Civil Rights & Liberties/Racial Justice Issues, Constitutional Law/First Amendment, Criminal Law/Death Penalty, Gender/Sexuality, Immigration, Juvenile Issues, Legislative/Policy Issues, LGBTQ, Litigation, Non-Profit, Prisoner Rights, Reproductive Rights, Women

Description
As the New Jersey affiliate of the national ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey addresses wide-ranging civil rights and civil liberties issues. In addition to traditional civil liberties issues, we are focused on ending discriminatory criminal justice policies, challenging abusive police practices, and fighting for the rights of immigrants, students, and LGBT people. We also have prioritized protecting the right to privacy and advancing voting rights.

 

AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE

Practice Areas: Health Law/HIV-AIDS Issues, Immigration

Description
The American Friends Service Committee carries out service, development, social justice, and peace programs throughout the world. Founded by Quakers in 1917 to provide conscientious objectors with an opportunity to aid civilian war victims, AFSC’s work attracts the support and partnership of people of many races, religions, and cultures. American Friends Service Committee provides direct legal services for undocumented and documented immigrants. Services include: assistance with obtaining residency, political asylum representation, immigration, HIV and community education, and advocacy on immigration and immigrant rights issues.

ADVOCATES FOR CHILDREN OF NEW JERSEY

Practice Areas: Children’s Rights, Family Law

Description
For 25 years, Advocates for Children of New Jersey has been the voice for children, demanding action for children who have no power to wield, no vote to cast, no campaign contributions to make.

ACNJ is the state’s foremost child advocacy agency, assertively advancing policies that help children and families. The association’s advocacy has grown since its inception. While protecting abused children is a priority, ACNJ, over the years, has played a role in improving nearly every aspect of children’s health, safety and education. 

CENTER FOR COLLABORATIVE CHANGE

Practice Areas: Children’s Rights, Civil Rights & Liberties/Racial Justice Issues, Community Economic Development, Consumer Protection/Debt/Bankruptcy, Employment/Labor, Environmental, Government/Regulatory Affairs, Health Law/HIV-AIDS Issues, Homelessness/Housing/Landlord-Tenant, Judicial/Judiciary, Legislative/Policy Issues, Municipal Law, Non-Profit, Nonprofit Management/Administration, Political Activity/Election Law, Public Benefits/Social Security, Real Estate/Land Use

Description
The Center for Collaborative Change is a nonprofit, community-based consulting firm developed to Find, Import, Tailor & Support proven and promising practices of urban revitalization in Newark, New Jersey. By engaging community and civic leadership in policy and program development, the Center will accelerate Newark’s revitalization while ensuring that the process includes and responds to the priorities of its community members.

The Center is committed to restoring trust between Newark’s decision-makers and residents, realigning them to be on the same team, and using the knowledge and resources of that alliance to establish a critical mass of reforms that will bring Newark to a tipping point where a positive cycle of health, abundance and opportunity can achieve momentum.

The Center is conducting a citywide community needs assessment which began in June 2009. Throughout the course of the academic year and over the summer, the Center will continue and deepen this needs assessment employing a variety of tools and techniques including community forums, focus groups, interviews with City officials, surveys, and community mapping. On the basis of our preliminary results, will also assume a slate of projects to develop policy and program solutions to pressing problems through our research, implementation, and evaluation processes.

COVENANT HOUSE

Practice Areas: Children’s Rights, Homelessness/Housing/Landlord-Tenant

Description
Covenant House New Jersey is a human service agency for homeless and runaway youth 21 and under. As a full-service residential care provider we are always recruiting dedicated professionals who are interested in working with our youth population. In both Newark and Atlantic City we have Crisis Centers and Independent Living Programs, and a Mother/Child program in Newark. At these facilities we have positions in direct care, administration, and support services.

EASTERN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CENTER

Practice Areas: Administrative Law, Environmental, Government/Regulatory Affairs, Legislative/Policy Issues, Litigation, Non-Profit

Description
Eastern Environmental Law Center is a nonprofit public interest environmental law center that provides pro bono and reduced rate legal services to the environmental and conservation communities in New Jersey and throughout the region.

EDUCATION LAW CENTER

Practice Areas: Civil Rights & Liberties/Racial Justice Issues, Education, Legislative/Policy Issues, Litigation

Description
Founded in 1973, ELC has become one of the most effective advocates for equal educational opportunity and education justice in the United States. Widely recognized for groundbreaking court rulings on behalf of vulnerable students in the Abbott v. Burkelitigation in New Jersey, ELC also promotes equity through coalition building, policy development, communications, and action-focused research in states and at the federal level.

In addition to working extensively in NJ and NY, ELC also provides support for legal and policy advocacy in other states and has been invaluable in advancing the urgent need for school funding equity across the nation.  

Through its Education Justice national program, ELC facilitates the only national network of attorneys and advocates working on school finance and other equity-related litigation through its website, message board and annual Litigators’ Workshop.

 

INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE PROJECT

Practice Areas: Academic, Civil Rights & Liberties/Racial Justice Issues, International Law/Human Rights, Legislative/Policy Issues, Women

Description
The International Justice Project (IJP) was established to advance the cause of international justice with a special focus on human rights and humanitarian law. 

Our activities center on supporting and assisting the representation of victims in the Darfur Situation before the International Criminal Court (ICC). The formal inclusion of victims in the trial proceedings at the ICC gives, for the first time, victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, the opportunity to actively participate in an international criminal trial. International Justice Project founders, Wanda M. Akin and Raymond M. Brown, represent the first victims recognized in the Darfur situation before the ICC, including four victims recognized to participate in the case against Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir, President of the Republic of Sudan. This achievement is the result of hundreds of interviews conducted by Akin, Brown, and the IJP staff, with Darfuris located in Europe, East Africa, and United States. 

In addition to this main task, the International Justice Project is also involved in research and advocacy for the development of mechanisms to address the health and welfare of victims of atrocities. In this capacity, we have launched a new venture with the support of the Marilyn S. Broad Foundation in the fall of 2011, titled the Darfur Community Health and Reparations Project (HARP). The HARP-project will assess and document specific pressing medical and mental health needs in the Darfuri community. Specifically, it will conduct an audit to produce data on the specific types of harm from which the Darfuri refugee community is suffering as a result of the destruction of Darfur and the Diaspora of the Darfuri population around the world. Using this information, the HARP project hopes to galvanize public and private resources to provide assistance for Darfuri refugees in the U.S. and abroad, and to provide data for ongoing discussions on restorative justice mechanisms.

Finally, the IJP engages with decision-makers, academia and other members of civil society by giving lectures and talks and through participation in public discussions. 

NEW JERSEY CITIZEN ACTION

Practice Areas: Civil Rights & Liberties/Racial Justice Issues, Consumer Protection/Debt/Bankruptcy, Employment/Labor, Family Law, Health Law/HIV-AIDS Issues

Description
Founded in 1982, NJCA is a statewide citizen coalition working on social and economic justice issues in New Jersey. Their purpose is to increase citizen participation in the democratic process. Issues we have worked on include toxics, chemical right-to know, fair banking, affordable housing and health care, insurance reform, utility rate reduction campaign, fair tax campaign, jobs with justice, disability access, women\’s rights at the work place, and issues affecting today’s working families, such as family leave.

VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR JUSTICE

Practice Areas: Children’s Rights, Consumer Protection/Debt/Bankruptcy, Education, Family Law, Homelessness/Housing/Landlord-Tenant, Municipal Law

Description
VLJ was founded in 2001 by a group of attorneys in New Jersey concerned about the limited availability of free legal resources to the poor. VLJ is a comprehensive pro bono program meeting the needs of the poor solely through the efforts of volunteer attorneys throughout New Jersey. To date, VLJ volunteers have assisted thousands of indigent persons in the community with critical legal matters such as divorce, domestic violence, special education issues, bankruptcy, evictions and more.

 

Pro Bono Projects
  • Child Support Project
  • City Bar Justice Center: Planning and Estates Law Project (PELP)
  • Courtroom Advocates Program
  • Consumer Project
  • Election Reform Research Project
  • International Refugee Assistance Project
  • LiveHelp
  • Access To Benefits Project
  • LGBTQ Legal Assistance and Outreach Project
  • Mentoring/Mock Trial Project
  • Legal Observer Program
  • Pro Se Divorce Project
  • Reentry Project Restoration Project
  • Street Law
  • Honorable Morris Stern Bankruptcy Pro Bono Project
Child Support Project

Students assist experienced matrimonial attorneys in providing community education about child support law. In addition, students assist with reviewing pleadings, preparing supplemental paperwork, and filing relevant motions in family court.

Student Director: Robert Galvan, ‘18

Planning and Estates Law Project (PELP)

A program of the City Bar Justice Center, PELP provides assistance to low-income New Yorkers with personal planning, end of life and estate matters. Students volunteers assist the pro bono panel members with research and document production.

Courtroom Advocates Program (with Sanctuary For Families)

Students serve as advocates in Family Court for domestic violence victims. Under the supervision of Sanctuary for Families, students help victims draft and file petitions for Orders of Protection, educate them on their rights and safety precautions, and advocate for them during court appearances. 

Student Director: Alvina Swati, ‘17

Consumer Project

Students assist pro bono attorneys in providing legal advice and limited-scope representation to debtors in civil courts. Students assist with intake, client interviews, and drafting pleadings.

Election Reform Research Project

Students partner with judges to conduct research assistance for the Ohio-based Common Cause on topics including the following: analyzing structural elements of existing state restricting commissions; research topics relating to redistricting, and propose a new districting plan in conformity with relevant voting rights law.

Student Director: Peter Urmstrom,’17

International Refugee Assistance Project

Partnering with select nationwide law schools, the national office of IRAP, and pro bono attorneys, volunteers provide assistance refugee Iraqi and Syrian families seeking resettlement in the US. Student volunteers assist in preparing client interview questions and interviewing clients; submitting a Freedom of Information Act request; drafting affidavits; crafting case strategy; gathering supporting evidence; and conducting legal research.

Student Director: Abus Sami-Jamel, ‘17

LiveHelp

Students and pro bono attorneys staff LiveHelp, an online, real-time chat service that will direct users toward relevant self-help materials, legal assistance organizations and court information. Volunteers will receive several hours of training on the LiveHelp software and in handling common questions using the resources on LawHelp.

Legal Aid Society: Access to Benefits Project

The Access to Benefits (A2B) Helpline is a “one-stop” resource for New Yorkers in need of legal assistance with health, employment , government benefits, education law and immigration law matters. Rutgers volunteers work alongside Legal Aid Society staff to provide direct assistance and/or referrals in matters related to: immigration, health, employment, education law, and government benefits.

LGBTQ Legal Assistance and Outreach Project

In collaboration with the NJ Community Research Initiative, the Rutgers University Office of Diversity

Affairs, and the Center for Gender and Sexuality and Law and Policy, the project provides weekly community education workshops and intake for the LGBTQ community. With generous Seed Grant funding from the Chancellor’s Office, the project the project will expand to develop model training materials, best practices, and conduct relevant scholarship research for a concurrent seminar in LGBTQ law.

Student Directors: Adam Herpolsheimber, ’18; Jamie DiNicola, ’18; and Karen Delgado, ‘18

Mentoring/Mock Trial Project

Through a partnership with the NYC based Legal Outreach, Rutgers law students teach a law-related curriculum to Newark public high school students. year-long constitutional law debate program is a key part of Legal Outreach’s effort to inspire and prepare young people to go to college. Student coaches will establish a strong mentoring relationship with individual students through one-on-one tutoring and guidance.

National Lawyers Guild Legal Observer Program

Established by Arthur Kinoy in 1968, the Legal Observer program is part of a comprehensive system of legal express their political views as fully as possible without unconstitutional disruption or interference by the police and with the fewest possible consequences from the criminal justice system.

Student Director: Alaina Thomas, ‘17

Pro Se Divorce Project

Students partner with experienced matrimonial lawyers to provide legal advice and limited-scope representation to litigants who have more complex legal issues. Volunteers assist litigants with issues arising from the divorce process, including service, motions, default process, or consultations regarding mediation and settlement.

Student Director: Nilaja Ford, ‘17

Reentry Project Restoration Project

Volunteer students partner with pro bono attorneys to provide assistance to re-entry clients in a variety of matters including expungement and drivers’ restoration. Students conduct interviews, draft motions, and appear pro se in municipal court under attorney supervision. Students assist in preparing client files and supplemental documents at VLJ’s office ahead of time.

Student Director: Tyler Dougherty, ‘18

Street Law

Street Law trains law students to teach a law-related curriculum designed to empower youth and adults to become more active citizens. Among Street Law’s goals are educating the community about their legal rights and responsibilities and providing students with the opportunity to cultivate stronger legal research and presentation skills.

Student Director: Nathan Ford, ‘18

Honorable Morris Stern Bankruptcy Pro Bono Project

The Honorable Morris Stern Bankruptcy Pro Bono Project pairs students with volunteer attorneys to interview low-income clients and to prepare and file bankruptcy petitions.

This project is generously funded by the American College of Bankruptcy Foundation.