Law School Pro Bono Programs
Director of Public Interest Programs
P: (215) 204-3705
Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by a Referral System with Coordinator
Description of Programs
Public Interest Experience (PIE) has historically been Temple's pro bono program. PIE began in 1993 as a student initiated project of the student chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. It gives students the opportunity to participate in one of the region's public interest organizations during the school year. Temple holds the "PIE Fair" each fall, where members of the local public interest community are invited to meet our students and tell them of pro bono opportunities with their agency.
Pro bono placements are further promoted and facilitated in a variety of ways by the Director of Public Interest Programs. Students receive individual counseling on pro bono placements and members of the public and private bar contact the Director with individual projects that need law student assistance.
Temple is currently developing a new pro bono program to increase pro bono opportunities for its students.
Location of Programs
The Director of Public Interest Programs coordinates all aspects of the pro bono program: the fall volunteer fair, maintains relationships with local public interest organizations as well as the private bar to maintain and create pro bono opportunities for students.
The Director is compensated full-time for operating the Office of Public Interest Law Programs. The Office has several functions, all related to public interest work. Overseeing the external pro bono and the law- related education program is approximately 50% of the Director's work. Temple-LEAP has its own professional staff.
The Office of Public Interest Law Programs has a six member faculty Advisory Committee.
PIE has a student director who helps operate the program and has significant input into direction of the program. Each student initiated project has a director or steering committee that operates and makes policy determinations for the project.
The pro bono program is funded by the law school. In addition, the law school provides student groups with an office, a computer and office supplies. Student groups can request funding for a pro bono project from the Student Bar Association in initial budget request or as needed throughout the year.
Administrative support is provided for faculty pro bono projects as needed.
Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects
Temple operates an extensive law-related education project Temple-LEAP (Law Education and Participation). LEAP is a multi-facted law related and civic education program which teaches non-lawyers about the law. LEAP directs the John S. Bradway Programs which include the Philadelphia High School Mock Trial Competition, Trial Advocacy Day, Juror Experiences, and Elementary Scripted Mock Trial Programs. Through Temple--LEAP, law students can become involved in Teen Court, an alternative disciplinary program currently operating in seven Philadelphia public high schools, The North Philadelphia Firearms Reduction Initiative, an after-school program that trains youth to become peer educators on the issue of gun violence reduction, and the PULSE Project (Philadelphia Urban Law Student Experience), a collaboration between Temple and the University of Pennsylvania Law School designed to encourage students from both law schools to help meet the legal needs of underserved populations in Philadelphia and implement law-related education programs in local schools.
Philadelphia Futures Law Camp - Program begins in July as full-time summer school and continues part-time during the school year. Curriculum is focused on basic language arts skills (reading, writing and critical thinking) in the context of high-interest legal concepts and current issues. Program is staffed by law students.
World Court - Law students work with high school students to examine a current high profile issue in a simulated World Court proceeding.
Holocaust Victims Asset Litigation Settlement Project - Law students review initial questionnaires in a class action settlement brought on behalf of Holocaust victims who deposited their money, insurance assets and art work in Swiss banks before and during the Holocaust and who have never been repaid their deposits.
Prevention Point - Prevention Point is a community health program working with clients at risk for HIV, hepatitis and other blood-borne diseases. Law students work with the Defenders Association of Philadelphia to operate a legal clinic whose goal is to eliminate outstanding bench warrants so clients can qualify for public health benefits.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Project - Law students provide free income tax return preparation to people with low or limited income, disabilities, and non-English speakers.
Process: The Director of the Office for Public Interest Law Programs is available to assist students in developing new projects.
Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono
There is a public service component to the merit compensation system, which includes service to the law school or to the community
There is an annual fall event where members of the Rubin Public Interest Law Society are recognized as well as recipients of summer SPIN grants.
There is a special awards ceremony which takes place before graduation. Two awards are given specifically for public interest:
The Henry Kent Anderson Human Services Award - Awarded to a student whose challenging career has deomstrated, through exemplary word and deed, a concern for the victims of society's inequities.
The Beth Cross Award - Awarded to graduates who are planning a career in public interest law and and who have demonstrated Ms. Cross' commitment and dedication to providing legal assistance to underserved populations.
The Lynne M. Abraham Award - Awarded to the graduating student with outstanding grades in Criminal Law and Professional Responsibility who plans to work in a public service position.
The Gideon Award - This award is given to a graduating student who will be working for the Defender Association of Philadelphia and who exhibits overall academic achievement.
In addition, during graduation ceremony, members of the Rubin Public Interest Law Honor Society are asked to stand and their names are also included in the graduation program.
Elverson Middle School Mentor Project pairs law students with at-risk middle school boys and girls, who are identified by school personal as students who would be responsive to mentoring. Activities are conducted in large groups (basketball games, football games) and with individual students.
The Student Bar Association funds students' non-law related community service projects, including:
- American Red Cross Blood Drives
- Winter Coat Drives
- Operation Santa Claus - sponsor neighborhood children with gifts of new books, articles of clothing, toys, and a holiday party.
- Eyes for Easter - collect unwanted eyeglasses for the Philadelphia Lion's Club
- Women's Hope - collect personal hygiene products and candy for a Philadelphia Battered women's shelter.
- Sweet Tooth Drive - collect Easter candy and dental products for a soup kitchen and homeless shelter.
- Philadelphia Reads - literacy training and reading with children.
- The Jewish Relief Agency project - distributing food to low-income families, playing with kids at homeless shelters, and making sandwiches for homeless shelters.
Law School Public Interest Programs
Director of Public Interest Programs
P: (215) 204-3705
Office of Career Planning
Temple's Public Interest Scholars Program
This Program requires that first year Scholars attend a seminar where they are exposed to different areas of Public Interest practice, are matched with a mentor who has expertise in the student's area of interest and that they work in a public interest organization during the summer. Second year Scholars are required to take a two credit course Introduction to Public Interest Law and participate in a second internship either during the course of their second year or over the summer. Third year scholars must spend at least one semester working directly with low income clients through the law school's clinical program and take a guided research course in a public interest area of their choice. Finally, they must work together to develop a culminating project that will benefit and strengthen the entire public interest community at Temple.
Temple offers a number of courses designed for the public interest-minded student, such as Introduction to Public Interest Law, Public Health in the Time of AIDS, Religious Rights Under the United States Constitution and Violence Against Women.
Public Interest Centers
Temple has a Public Interest Center. The Center's Director:
Directs the Center, which acts as a resource/support center/clearinghouse for student-driven extra curricular public interest and public service activities;
Oversees activities of Temple-LEAP (Law Education and Participation) a professionally staffed law-related education program funded by private foundation and government grants. For more information, contact Program coordinator Roberta West, 215/204 - 8948 or E-mail);
Identifies public interest career opportunities, provides career counseling to public interest minded students, identifies summer and post graduate fellowships and assists students with the public interest fellowship process;
Operates Public Interest Experience program wherein law students work in the regions public interest and government organizations; and
Directs Public Interest Scholars program.
For additional information, contact Karen Forman, Esquire, Director at 215/204-2248 or E-mail.
Public Interest Clinics
Death Penalty Litigation - This clinical program offers students the unique opportunity to study capital punishment and to participate in various stages of the defense of capital cases. Students help develop factual data and legal arguments to support state post-conviction or federal habeas corpus challenges to capital convictions and sentences, as well as help prepare petitions for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court and motions for stays of executions. Students are placed with lawyers actively engaged in death penalty litigation and/or developing systemic challenges to Pennsylvania's capital punishment statute.
Death Penalty Litigation offers a program that integrates long-term and immediate litigation needs, with special emphasis on research and writing. Although the course supervising attorneys may be called upon to orally argue positions developed from the research provided by the clinical students, the clinical experience will be primarily one of drafting and briefing.
Students will be provided with a practical, substantive, and procedural context in which death penalty cases are litigated in both trial and appellate courts. The program will enable students to evaluate a file--factually and legally--plan and undertake a research assignment, and assimilate that research into a current statutory or constitutional challenge.
Elderly Law Project - This clinic offers students the opportunity to study a variety of statutes which particularly affect senior citizens and to represent clients of the Elderly Law Project. Students may represent clients before an administrative agency in matters involving the application of the Social Security Act and regulations which control social security, supplemental security income (SSI), social security disability, Medicare, and Medicaid. Students also prepare legal documents such as wills, living wills, and durable powers of attorney. They will advise clients about consumer problems, landlord/tenant matters, financial planning, long-term care, protective services, and guardianship. Preparation for each case begins with the "initial intake" and ends with representation which may take the form of a hearing, informal negotiation, or the preparation of a legal document.
Legal Advocacy for Patients - Operating as a small law firm, this clinical course focuses on the legal representation of clients dealing with the impact of serious medical diagnoses. Although many of our client's diagnoses have been cancer or HIV/AIDS, we have recently expanded our client base to include others with physical disabilities. Typical areas of representation include but are not limited to public benefits, medical insurance, life planning, etc. Our goal is to provide quality legal services to poor people with medical issues or disabilities in North Philadelphia. Students will be will be directly responsible for the legal representation of clients at all stages of their cases. In addition to applying general research, writing, and accumulated legal knowledge to real clients' cases, students will learn the following: How to effectively and professionally interact with clients; How to develop a shared definition of problems with clients and how to identify which problems have practical legal solutions; How to analyze typical problems of our client base, and how to research and analyze problems that are not ones with which students are currently competent; How to represent clients before administrative law judges and other administrative officers.
The bulk of our direct representation is in administrative hearings for SSI cases before administrative law judges. While every effort is made to provide each student with the opportunity to handle at least one hearing, this will depend on the status of the individual cases.
Although most of the work is direct client advocacy, students will also be expected to do community outreach. You may also look at legislation as it effects our clients, and consider what advocacy steps a lawyer might take to affect legislation to help our clients.
Representing Charitable Organizations - Working with the Law School's Center for Community Nonprofit Organizations, students provide general legal representation to nonprofit organizations working to improve the physical, social, and economic environments of Philadelphia area low-income communities. Students deal with a wide array of transactional legal matters including: choice of entity, incorporation, governing documents, application for tax exempt status, leases, contracts, application for exemption from real estate and sales tax, and employment and corporate counseling, and general real estate development assistance.
Duties will include interviewing clients, counseling clients concerning choice of entity, drafting documents, legal research, education of clients and community members concerning the nature of nonprofit corporations, the roles and responsibilities of board members, tax filings under §501(C)(3), and other community development topics.
Ideally, each intern will complete the interview, incorporation, bylaws, and application for tax exemption for a client during the semester.
Temple Legal Aid Office Family Law - The substantive area of law is primarily domestic relations,(e.g. child custody, support, paternity, adoptions). Classroom discussions emphasize professional responsibility in the everyday practice of law as well as the procedural aspects of family law practice in Philadelphia. Interns are encouraged to develop the habit of reflecting on the preparations and execution of significant events in the life of a case as a means of ongoing growth as a practitioner.
Interns will conduct initial consultation interviews with prospective clients and prepare an Intake Memorandum for the case file with a recommendation on acceptance of the matter by TLAO. The Intake Memo and recommendation will be discussed with the Supervising Attorney before a decision to accept a case is made. Interns will identify the legal issues relevant to the case and conduct research as appropriate to support a recommendation for TLAO action on the case. Typically, there is opportunity for negotiation with opposing counsel, drafting correspondence and pleadings, as well as representing clients in court proceedings. Each intern is expected to take primary responsibility for cases assigned during the semester, although the Supervising Attorney is professionally responsible as the Attorney of Record for each client. Interns are expected to attend any court appearance scheduled for an assigned case and cannot leave the court until the conclusion of the matter even if it extends beyond the normal scheduled time for the clinical.
Temple Legal Aid Office: Domestic Relations Mediation - This clinical offers students an opportunity to be trained in mediation skills and to obtain experience conducting mediation sessions with actual disputants referred by the Family Court. Students will assist disputants explore and develop their own options to resolve disputes rather than resort to litigation. Duties include explaining the goals and rules of mediation, interviewing the clients in the context of the mediation sessions and drafting the memorandum of agreement for the disputants at the conclusion of the mediation session as may be needed. The focus of the clinical will be to introduce students to an alternative method of resolving disputes as applied in the domestic relations context.
Temple's clinical program consists of both clinics and field placements. Temple has sixteen public interest field placement courses, twelve of which are offered in the spring and fall, and four are offered in only one semester. These courses include placements doing local and federal criminal defense and prosecution, mediation, housing, bankruptcy, homeless advocacy, environmental law and lesbian, gay and transgendered law. Temple does not authorize field placements for academic credit outside their clinic program. More information on Temple's clinical program can be found at http://www.law.temple.edu/servlet/RetrievePage?site=TempleLaw&page=Current_Clinical_Programs
Classes with a Public Service Component
Public Interest Journals
Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review
PI Career Support Center
Prior to the Spring of 2005, Temple did not have a staff member in the Office of Career Planning solely or primarily dedicated to public interest. Public interest assistance was primarily located in the Office of Public Interest Programs. Temple decided in early 2005 to restructure its public interest resources and hire a Director of Public Interest Programs (the Director) to work in the office of Career Planning and the Office of Public Interest Programs was closed. The Director is responsible for all career services for public interest as well as coordinating the school's pro bono program.
Temple, along with The University of Pennsylvania Law School, Villanova Law School, Rutgers University at Camden Law School, Widener University Law School and Penn State Dickinson Law School, hosted the annual Public Interest Public Service Career Fair in February 2005. This all day career fair gathered public interest and public service employers from the region and beyond to interview our students for summer and full time positions. Information interviews and career planning sessions were also held as part of the Fair.
Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)
Law School Funded:
Temple has more than 50 awards, some of which are public interest oriented:
The Lynne M Abraham ('65)Award
Established by the Temple Law Alumni/ae Association, this award honors Lynne M. Abraham ('65), a former Court of Common Pleas judge, who was sworn in as the first woman district attorney of Philadelphia in May, 1991. It is awarded to the graduating student with the highest grades in Criminal Law and Professional Responsibility who plans to work in a public service position.
The Beth Cross ('90) Award
Established in memory of Beth Cross ('90), former executive Director of the Legal Clinic for the Disabled, by her husband Mark Flood ('90), this award is given to the graduate who is planning a career in public interest law and who demonstrates Ms Cross's commitment and dedication to providing legal assistance to under served populations.
The Gideon Award
Named for the landmark case Gideon v. Wainwright, this award is given to a graduating student who will be working for the Defender Association of Philadelphia and who exhibits overall academic achievement.
The Lena Hale Award
To the graduate(s) chosen by the faculty for outstanding extracurricular contributions.
Henry J Richardson III Award
Established to honor Henry J. Richardson III, for his personal contribution to critical thinking in the areas of international law, development and human rights, and his dedication to fostering thoughtful scholarship, this award is given to the student who wrote the best paper in the area of international human rights.
The Sender and Janina Szwalbenest Memorial Award
Established by Ben J. Szwalbenest ('81) to honor his parents, this award is given to a graduate who immigrated to the United States and rendered outstanding service to the law school and the community.
Greg R Wiegand ('98) Memorial Fund Award
Awarded to the graduating student who has overcome adversity and demonstrated perseverance and excellence while participating in the John S. Bradway Mock Trial Program.
Graduate Student Funded:
Other Funding Sources:
Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships
Law School Funded:
Graduate Student Funded:
Public Interest Scholars - Established to recognize the generous gift to the law schcool by Temple alumnus Leonard Rubin, '49, these scholarships are awarded to incoming students who have a astrong commitment to public interest work, e
Other Funding Sources:
Law School Funded:
Graduate Student Funded:
Other Funding Sources:
Student Public Interest Network (SPIN) is a student-run organization that raises money to provide modest salaries to Temple Law students to enable them to work for public interest legal organizations during the summer. The number of grants provided depends on the number of eligible applicants and the amount of money raised.
The Honorable Clifford Scott Green Scholarship - This scholarship is awarded to a second-year day or third year evening student who has demonstrated a commitment to public interest law or pro bono legal service. The scholarship is provided as a financial assistance to enable a student to continue working in the public interest sector during the summer.
Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs
The Herbert F. Kolsby Distinguished Lectureship in Trial Advocacy - Delivered by Bryan Stevenson
Dean's Invitational Forum - Featured LAMBDA attorney Alphonso David
Paula Johnson - Presented a colloquium on her work with women in prison
Public Interest Mondays - Weekly brown bag lunch series featuring discussion of various public interest topics
Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review Symposium - During the fall semester Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review sponsors a symposium and invites nationally recognized scholars and practitioners to speak on a topic of current interest in political or civil rights.
Student Public Interest Groups
Student Public Interest Network (SPIN)
August 6, 2018