Directory

DePaul University College of Law

DePaul University
College of Law
25 East Jackson Blvd
Chicago, IL 60604
law.depaul.edu/Pages/default.aspx

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Lauren Worsek, J.D.
Director of the Pro Bono and Community Service Initiative
Assistant Director of Public Interest Law
DePaul University College of Law
25 E. Jackson Blvd., Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 362-6439
lworsek@depaul.edu

 

Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by a Referral System with a Coordinator

 

Description of Programs

A project of the Center for Public Interest Law, the Pro Bono and Community Service Initiative (PBCSI) connects students with rewarding and flexible volunteer opportunities in both legal and non-legal settings. PBCSI works with partner organizations, but students are not limited to working with these sites. Past volunteers have staffed a guardianship help desk, taught lessons on the constitution to elementary school kids, hosted interview workshops for juveniles with criminal histories, tutored kids, educated at-risk youth about their legal rights, worked at legal clinics, and helped individuals transition from homelessness. In 2011, PBCSI developed The Neighborhood Legal Assistance Project, a pro bono help desk staffed by law student volunteers to assist the homeless with expunging and sealing their criminal records and obtaining state IDs. The number of opportunities presented and the number of students involved continues to grow every year. In 2009, the school approved an aspirational goal that each DePaul College of law student completes at least fifty hours of pro bono or community service during their time at the law school.

 

Location of Programs

The Center for Public Interest Law

 

Staffing/Management/Oversight

PBCSI is a project of the Center for Public Interest Law. PBCSI is managed by an attorney director and student coordinators.

 

Funding

College of Law

 

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

The Pro Bono and Community Service Initiative matches students with pro bono and community service projects both in and out of the legal community. PBCSI works with partner organizations that provide students with a positive, meaningful volunteer experience. Students are not limiting to volunteering with a PBCSI partner, and PBCSI is committed to helping students find a pro bono or community service site that fits their interests and schedules. PBCSI also runs The Neighborhood Legal Assistance Project ("NLAP"), a pro bono legal help desk that assists the homeless with sealing and expunging their criminal records and obtaining state IDs and provides brief advice and referrals for other legal and social service issues. NLAP is staffed with law student volunteers and a supervising attorney. The Pro Bono "Staycation" is another PBCSI pro bono project. It takes place over spring break and gives students the chance to help low-income clients while gaining legal experience and making contacts with local public service organizations. Additionally, PBCSI offers at least one law student/alumni pro bono day where students and alumni work on teams to prepare advanced directives for low-income seniors. PBCSI also recruits students to assist with discrete pro bono projects for local legal aid agencies, such as research and writing assignments.

Although not managed by PBCSI, the College of Law also offers the following pro bono opportunities:

DACA Clinics

DePaul's Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic has partnered with Erie Neighborhood House to provide legal assistance to recipients of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Working under the guidance of immigration attorneys, students work 1-on-1 with DACA recipients on a variety of matters during Friday afternoon and Saturday morning workshops. Experienced immigration attorneys provide orientation, training, and on-site support.

Spring Break Border Project

Also sponsored by DePaul's Asylum & Immigration Law Clinic, the Spring Break Border Project provides law students with the opportunity to represent detained immigrants in their removal proceedings in Harlingen, Texas, near the US-Mexico border, over spring break. Students visit the detention facilities, interview clients, assist with factual and legal research, present cases in court and otherwise assisted the work of attorneys and paralegals at South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR), a not-for-profit organization dedicating to serving immigrants and refugees in detention.

 

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

No pro bono requirement exists for faculty. Many, however, are involved in a variety of pro bono projects including: leadership with local social service-oriented agencies, immigration/asylumcasework and human rights projects.

 

Awards/Recognition

There is a recognition reception for students completing at least fifty hours of pro bono or community service hours at the end of each academic year. Students also receive awards for completing 100 and 200 hours of service and graduating students who have completed 200 or more hours of service receive the Benjamin Hooks Distinguished Public Service Award.

 

Community Service

1L Service Day

The 1L Service Day takes place directly after orientation and gives incoming students a chance to hit the ground running when it comes to service at DePaul. It is also a great way for students to socialize and relax before the start of the semester. Students work in groups at a range of community sites throughout the city, which have included schools, parks, homeless shelters and senior centers. Law faculty and staff and second- and third-year students also participate as site leaders.

Donate-A-Day Events

PBCSI proudly sponsors at least six annual Donate-A-Day projects. Typically held on Saturdays, these projects provide meaningful legal and non-legal service opportunities for students whose schedules do not permit an extended volunteer commitment or who want to supplement their ongoing volunteer work. Donate-A-Day events incorporate time for education about the needs of the community and for reflection on the meaning and impact of service work.

Service Immersion Trips with the College of Law

DePaul College of Law offers a service immersion trip to New Orleans during the last week of winter break. Service immersion trips provide law students unique and inexpensive opportunities to work, live and build relationships with other law students, while learning about social justice issues in a fascinating American city. Volunteering with community agencies that serve low-income people, rebuilding homes and meeting with local leaders are just a few of the activities that are offered during a service immersion trip. University Ministry in the Loop organizes this trip.

Pro Bono Spring Break of Service

The Pro Bono Spring Break of Service gives DePaul law students the chance to help low-income clients while gaining valuable hands-on legal experience at a variety of local public service organizations during spring break. Projects have included volunteering at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, writing a clemency petition, preparing advanced directives for seniors, conducting legal research, and assisting on domestic violence cases. This is a great opportunity for students to make contacts in Chicago’s legal aid community.

 

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Shaye Loughlin
Director, Center for Public Interest Law
sloughli@depaul.edu
312.362.7212

 

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

DePaul offers a Public Interest Law Certificate. The program entails required and elective coursework and an experiential and service component. Please visit https://law.depaul.edu/academics/jd-programs/certificates/Pages/public-interest-law.aspx for detailed information.



Public Interest Centers

Center for Public Interest Law  - The Center manages all aspects of the public interest law program, including the Public Interest Honors Scholars program, public interest legal writing, a specialized section of the first-year Legal Analysis, Research & Communications course, the Pro Bono and Community Service Initiative, the Journal for Social Justice, a speakers and mentors program, a Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), and greatly expanded contacts with the public interest community. Please visit the Center website for more information:  https://law.depaul.edu/about/centers-and-institutes/center-for-public-interest-law/Pages/default.aspx

 

Public Interest Clinics

Most of the clinics at the College of Law are public service. Community-based service learning has a long tradition at DePaul University, and the College of Law exemplifies this practice through its clinical programs. Under faculty supervision and guidance, students sharpen their skills and knowledge while engaging in legal practice outside the formal classroom setting. They earn academic credit while concentrating on the problems faced by clients in these distinct areas: Immigration/Asylum & Refugee Law, Civil Litigation and Health Law, Civil Rights, Criminal Appeals, Community Law, Family Law​, and Misdemeanors. Clinics are open to law students starting their second year, with programs lasting either one semester or an entire academic year. Please visit the Clinic website for more information: https://law.depaul.edu/academics/experiential-learning/legal-clinics/Pages/default.aspx

 

Externships/Internships

An extensive externship program exists offering placement in many public interest fields. The program is open to upper level students and requires at least 90 hours field work per semester. Please visit https://law.depaul.edu/academics/experiential-learning/field-placement-program/Pages/default.aspx for detailed information.

 

Classes with a Public Service Component

A few courses have experiential public interest components. Such courses include: International Human Rights Law Practicum, Restorative Justice Practices, Mediation, and Domestic Violence Practicum.

 

Public Interest Journals

The Journal for Social Justice continues to publish twice a year. The journal is now available on line at https://via.library.depaul.edu/jsj/

 

PI Career Support Center

The Career Services office has a staff member dedicated to public interest career services. For more details, please visit https://law.depaul.edu/career-services

Lauren Worsek, J.D.
Director of the Pro Bono and Community Service Initiative
Assistant Director of Public Interest Law
DePaul University College of Law
25 E. Jackson Blvd., Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 362-6439
lworsek@depaul.edu



Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

Since 2006, the LRAP has helped alums in public interest manage low-paying salaries with high educational debt loads while serving marginalized communities. The College of Law is able to grant 8-10 awards each year.

More information is available at: https://law.depaul.edu/about/centers-and-institutes/center-for-public-interest-law/financial-support/Pages/lrap.aspx

 

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:



 

Graduate Student Funded:



 

Other Funding Sources:



 

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:



 

Graduate Student Funded



 

Other Funding Sources:



 

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

Each year, the Center for Public Interest Law awards summer stipends that enable dozens of students to take unpaid public interest jobs that provide valuable experiences and skill that will help with their job search. CPIL administers the following summer funding opportunities for students through a unified application process during the beginning of the spring semester:

Helen M. Cirese Fellowship
The family of Helen M. Cirese family created this summer stipend for a student who is working in public interest law and has demonstrated high academic achievement, a commitment to public service and issues that impact women. 

Cudahy Fellowships
The Patrick and Anna Cudahy Fund, a foundation which supports social service, youth and educational organizations, has awarded several summer fellowships to students choosing to work during the summer after their first year at a public interest agency.

Pusateri Fellowship
The Pusateri Fellowship is part of a larger grant to the College of Law by the family of late DePaul alumnus Justice Lawrence X. Pusateri ('53). The fellowship is dedicated to facilitating public service work by DePaul law students.

Vincentian Summer Fellowships
The DePaul University Office of Mission and Values has created to stipends for students who are committed to public interest work and to learning more about the life and legacy of St. Vincent de Paul. These stipends are only available for students who work for non-profit organization.

Public Interest Law Association Scholarships
Each year, DePaul's student-run Public Interest Law Association (PILA) hosts a benefit auction to raise funds for summer scholarships to support students interested in working in public interest law for the summer. Scholarships enable students to work at nonprofit legal organizations. The Public Service Scholarship Committee administers the selection process in the spring of each year.​



Graduate Student Funded:



 

Other Funding Sources:

DePaul offers a number of summer funding opportunities for students dedicated to public service.

Helen M. Cirese Fellowship
The family of Helen M. Cirese family created this summer stipend for a student who is working in public interest law and has demonstrated high academic achievement, a commitment to public service and issues that impact women.

Cudahy Fellowship
The Patrick and Anna Cudahy Fund, a foundation which supports social service, youth, and educational organizations, has awarded several summer fellowships to students choosing to work the summer after their first year at a public interest agency of their choice.

Albert & Anne Mansfield Foundation Fellowship Program:
The Mansfield Foundation provides two stipends for students who wish to work for Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago.

Pusateri Fellowship
The Pusateri Fellowship is part of a larger grant to the College of Law by the family of the late DePaul alum Lawrence Pusateri. It is dedicated to the facilitation of working in public service.

Vincentian Summer Fellowships
The DePaul University Office of Mission and Values has created to stipends for students who are committed to public interest work and to learning more about the life and legacy of St. Vincent de Paul. These stipends are only available for students who work for non-profit organization.

Public Interest Law Association (PILA) Stipends
Every year, DePaul's student-run Public Interest Law Association hosts a benefit auction to raise funds for summer stipends to support students interested in working in public interest law for the summer. Stipends enable students to work at non-profit legal organizations. For the past three years, PILA has been able to provide about 15 stipends a year to DePaul public-interest law students.

 

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Lunchtime Speakers - CPIL, sometimes in partnership with various student groups, sponsors lunchtime events that feature speakers and presenters to discuss different public interest and social justice topics and issues.

Public Interest Honors Scholars - The Scholars program is a leadership program for students with excellent credentials and a demonstrated commitment to the public interest. The program includes a number of special events, the opportunity for alumni and faculty mentors for the scholars and the chance to be leaders in developing the public program at DePaul.

Public Interest Legal Skills Series – CPIL sponsors a series of skill based learning programs for students. Experienced practitioners create the syllabi and teach the non-credit course during the lunch hour. A broad number of transferable skills such as discovery are also taught. Students who attended all sessions in each series are given a Certificate of Completion. The Skills Series is not meant to be a casebook course, a clinic, or a classic skills course. Instead, each Series will focus on a discrete area of the law and use actual case files, including pleadings, depositions, documents, and judicial opinions – to immerse students in the laboratory of legal skills.

Receptions - CPIL sponsors evening receptions throughout the year. Specifically, there are receptions to mark the start and the close of the school year, to connect student with mentors in the public interest law community and to celebrate the LRAP recipients and program.

Vincentian Conference - CPIL sponsors an annual conference with a panel and key-note speaker presenting issues and topics related to public interest.

 

Student Public Interest Groups

Public Interest Law Association
National Lawyers Guild
Outlaws
Society for Asylum and Immigration Law
Women of Color Collective
If, When, How (Reproductive Justice)


 4/24/2020