Open to: All law students
Time Commitment: 16-20 hours per week
Location: Downtown Tacoma – at Tacoma Pro Bono Office, in Pierce County Superior Court, and at various legal clinic locations around Pierce County.
Recommended Skills/Prerequisites: Rule 9 certified preferred, willingness to serve low-income clients and a passion for legal aid required.
Type of Supervision and Training: Students will have direct supervision from staff attorneys and experienced paralegals, as well as mentorship from experienced volunteer attorneys.
Application Process: Submit a letter of interest and resume to Laurie Davenport at
email@example.com. Please specify which areas of civil legal aid interest you most, and what experience, if any, you have in those areas. Please expect to attend an interview at our Tacoma Pro Bono office before final decisions are made.
Deadlines: Winter – December 10, 2018; Spring – February 15, 2019; Summer – May 2, 2019
Contact: Please contact Laurie Davenport, Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Carly Roberts (email@example.com) with any questions.
The Tacoma Pro Bono Program in Pierce County is a program of the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association funded by local contributors to the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded to support the Bar’s volunteer attorney program, and IOLTA/LawFund as a grantee of the Legal Foundation of Washington. The mission of Tacoma Pro Bono is to facilitate access to volunteer attorney advice and representation, as well as self-help materials and general legal information, for low-income individuals who have civil legal needs in Pierce County, Washington.
Option 1(a) and (b):
This program is designed for students interested in Native American Legal Aid or the Housing Justice Project. Students will have the option to shadow attorneys and staff for a full quarter:
- Option 1(a): Native American Legal Aid Program (NALAP): This program assists tribal members with civil legal issues in Pierce County. The extern will work closely with our NALAP staff attorney, shadowing client intake interviews, spotting legal issues, and conducting client referral follow-up. Furthermore, the extern will have an opportunity to develop ongoing client assistant where appropriate. For example, composing demand letters and assisting clients with disability applications. Additionally, the extern will assist with community education presentations and will conduct legal research and writing as needed.
- Option 1(b): Housing Justice Project (HJP): Landlord-Tenant law represents our clients’ second-greatest area of need, and the Tacoma-Pierce County Housing Justice Project provides eviction defense services to clients in court. This clinic intercepts clients who would otherwise argue their case pro se, and attorneys can both negotiate with landlord’s counsel on the client’s behalf, or argue the case in Show Cause Hearing if a resolution is not reached. Due to the short and demanding timeframe of these cases, Externs will be asked to utilize all of the skills they have learned working with clients and legal clinics in this final phase of the Externship.
For those seeking experience in a variety of practice areas, Tacoma Pro Bono Externs may choose an option consisting four programs, approximately 2-3 weeks in length each:
- Phase One: Overview and Initial Client Interface: In this phase, students will learn
about the structure and organization of legal aid in Washington, and understand how clients are referred to Tacoma Pro Bono. Students will participate in the “client intake” process, speak with clients directly over the phone, and learn how to spot legal issues in order to pair clients with the appropriate legal clinic.
- Phase Two: Family Law: Family Law represents one of the greatest areas of need for our clients. Externs will shadow experienced Family Law attorneys at our Pro Se Family Law, LawHelp, and USO clinics. Externs will also shadow our Family Law Paralegals and learn the mechanics of how to complete and review pleadings in dissolution, child support, and child custody matters.
- Phase Three: Native American Legal Aid Program: In this phase, externs will work closely with our Native American Legal Aid Program Staff Attorney. The extern will shadow client intake interviews, spot legal issues, and conduct client referral follow-up. The extern will have an opportunity to develop ongoing client assistant where appropriate. For example, composing demand letters and assisting clients with disability applications. Additionally, the extern may assist with community education presentations and may conduct legal research and writing.
- Phase Four: Housing Justice Project: In this phase, externs will shadow our Housing Justice Project staff. Externs will have the opportunity to work with clients who would otherwise argue their case pro se and observe attorneys negotiate with landlord’s counsel on the client’s behalf, or argue the case in Show Cause Hearing if a resolution is not reached.