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The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs offers students the opportunity to conduct pro bono work during spring break through organized group trips. Trips outside of the Boston area should be focused on issues or work that is unique to that local area. The work must be concrete and defined well in advance. The work should be legal in nature and supervised by a licensed attorney. All trips must be open to application by all students, though pre-requisites such as language proficiency are fine. This year trips can run March 14-22, 2015.
There is a limited amount of funding available for student travel. Students may need to contribute to airfare or other transportation costs depending on final numbers of student participants.
If you would like to propose a spring break pro bono project with a sponsoring organization, please submit a proposal by November 12, 2014 to Lee Mestre in the Office of Clinical Programs. Advance meetings are encouraged before submitting a proposal.
Spring Break Trips 2014
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Completed forms may also be returned to WCC clinical wing 3085. The deadline for submitting applications was Wednesday, January 15, 2014. Applications are now closed.
Decisions will be announced by Friday, January 24 and selected students must commit by making airfare reservations soon after.
1) Voting Rights with Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (San Antonio, Texas):
MALDEF in particular is attempting to directly reverse the damage from Shelby County v. Holder. There are two primary cases that MALDEF would have students work on: 1) Legal research, getting evidence and witnesses ready for redistricting case that could result in extending Voting Rights Act preclearance coverage in one of the most critical states for minority voters; and 2) State voter ID challenges to the US Election Assistance Commission (litigation spawned by MALDEF’s victory last term in the Supreme Court).
There may also be additional cases and client work active at the time. Students will also get to learn from San Antonio’s rich history of civil rights issues and the work that has been done establishing education, voting, and other rights for immigrant and minority communities.
More at www.maldef.org
Four or five students will be selected for this trip.
2) Joint Use Project with Delta Directions/Harvard Mississippi Delta Project (Clarksdale, Mississippi):
Students will compile a toolkit for Mississippi schools to implement joint use agreements with community organizations to use the school facilities during non-school hours. Mississippi has both the highest adult and childhood obesity rates in the country. In one attempt to combat this, Mississippi passed House Bill 540, which limits the liability of school districts for claims arising from the joint use of their facilities. The goal of the bill was promote more recreational and sports activities for Mississippi children by facilitating greater use of school property, as many communities often lack the resources for independent facilities.
Students will conduct research on joint use best practices, as well as in person meetings and interviews with local school officials to assess their sophistication, concerns, and needs, in order to create an effective toolkit on joint use agreements. Students will then provide a short overview and training on the joint use toolkit to local schools at the end of the week.
Four to six students will be selected for this trip. Optional night in Memphis the last weekend.
3) Immigration Border Work with No More Deaths (Tucson, Arizona):
The mission of No More Deaths is to end migrant deaths in the region of the US/Mexico border and it provides humanitarian aid. Additionally, with the information collected by volunteers, No More Deaths has published reports detailing the abhorrent treatment of detainees by Border Patrol. No More Deaths volunteers have filed complaints with DHS’ Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and have collaborated with the ACLU of New Mexico’s Regional Center for Border Rights in documenting abuses. Specific student work to be determined.
Up to eight students will be selected for this trip. Spanish language skills are helpful, but not required.
More at www.nomoredeaths.org
4) Local Boston- area pro bono project (Boston and/or Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Work with local nonprofit and legal services organizations. Specific student work to be determined but could include working directly with clients, working in the courts, preparing know your rights materials, and legal research and writing. No overnight or long-distance travel required.
As many students as can be accommodated will be selected.
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