DO: Engage in Public Interest/Social Justice Work
The Access to Justice Institute prepares students for a lifetime in law in furtherance of social justice. We believe that the best way to develop lawyering skills, understand community needs, connect classroom learning to real-world problems, and meet practicing attorneys is to get hands-on experience in social justice work. Through ATJI, you can find ways to get involved not only within the walls of Sullivan Hall but also in the larger equal justice community.
Volunteer and Pro Bono Opportunities
Need to Find an Opportunity?
- Visit the ATJI Blog! Our blog is updated frequently with featured volunteer opportunities, paid and unpaid internships, post-graduate fellowships, events, and resources.
- Talk to ATJI! Staff members are available to help you identify the best types of opportunities for you. Please contact Kerri Kline, firstname.lastname@example.org, to make an appointment.
- Pledge Pro Bono! Take the Pro Bono Pledge and you will not only get recognized for the contributions you are making but will also get periodic updates about ways to get engaged and learn more.
Want to Learn More about Ways to Get Involved in the Community?
Clinics, externships, internships, volunteer projects.... The terminology can be confusing but the goals are the same: these are all opportunities to expand your learning beyond the classroom and work directly with community members in need of assistance. Here are a few common ways to engage, through ATJI or otherwise:
- ATJI Partnership Projects: ATJI in conjunction with community organizations houses several Partnership Projects including the Moderate Means Program, Foreclosure Mediation & Outreach Project, and Seattle University Youth Initiative Projects, and Wayfind Microenterprise Clinic. Through these projects you will volunteer, alongside several other SU law students.
- Internships and Volunteer Projects: Volunteer directly with legal aid organizations, public sector agencies, or other community organizations (internships usually mean you are there regularly for an extended period of time). The ATJI Blog is a great resource to find public interest and social opportunities - volunteer and paid!
- Student Organizations: Several law school student organizations, such as the Incarcerated Mothers Advocacy Project (IMAP), the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IMAP), and Street Youth Law Advocates of Washington (SYLAW-SU), provide legal information and assistance in the community.
- Externship Program: Earn academic credit for supervised legal work at a court, nonprofit, state or federal agency, or non-governmental organization while learning from a seminar at the same time.
- Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic: Represent underrepresented or marginalized clients under faculty supervision for credit working at the law school's 'law firm'.
- Practicums: This is a hybrid of a seminar course, law clinic, and an externship where students can learn about a particular public interest topic in a seminar setting, and then intern with a public interest organization performing legal work, applying their learning and building legal skills.
Not sure what type of opportunity is right for you? Please visit the Pro Bono Pledge Program's FAQs on "Finding Opportunities" for more tips on how to find a good fit or meet with an ATJI staff member.