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 doing 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.
ATJI connects students to public interest and social justice opportunities, which include Partnership Projects. Partnership Projects are developed and organized by ATJI in collaboration with a community partner to offer students a social justice opportunity that builds legal and leadership skills while helping to advance the community partner's equal justice work.
First things first - Take the Pro Bono Pledge! Pledge to complete 100 hours of pro bono and volunteer work before you graduate. By participating in the Pledge 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! There is no commitment to start volunteering right away - take the Pledge, then get started whenever you're ready!
Finding a Pro Bono Opportunity
When you're ready to look for a pro bono opportunity, the choices can be overwhelming! ATJI offers several resources to help you find opportunities for real-world experience:
Visit ATJI's Pro Bono Portal: The Portal 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 ATJI at firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
Check out ATJI’s monthly Link e-newsletter: The Link is an electronic newsletter that provides easy-to-reference information about public interest and social justice events, resources and opportunities for law students. View a sample Link newsletter.
Access Other Resources:
- The Center for Professional Development (CPD) lists legal internships in Symplicity.
- PSJD.org is the largest national database of public interest internships, postgraduate fellowships, and public interest jobs.
Ways to Get Involved
Clinics, externships, internships, volunteer projects, Partnership 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:
- ATJI Partnership Projects: ATJI houses several Partnership Projects where you can volunteer alongside SU law students at community organizations with support from ATJI.
- External Internships and Volunteer Projects: Volunteer directly with legal aid organizations, public sector agencies, or other community organizations. 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.
- For-Credit Opportunities: Through the Externship Department you can earn academic credit for some supervised legal work; through the Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic you can represent underrepresented or marginalized clients under faculty supervision for credit working at the law school's 'law firm'. ATJI offers practicums, which are a hybrid between a seminar, a law clinic, and an externship.