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Current Issue : 2008 Fall

Pro Bono Opportunities Abound

Providing students the opportunity to work with clients in a pro bono capacity is another important part of the Public Service Law Program at Brooklyn Law School. Student groups sponsor events and undertake pro bono projects, charitable drives and other activities.

For example, CLARO, the Civil Legal Advice and Resource Office, is a very successful pro bono project that was created in part through the ingenuity of BLS students. Through CLARO, students advise consumer debtors who are representing themselves in debt collection cases in civil court. Other New York law schools, as well as a Bronx legal aid office, have replicated the program.

Brooklyn Law School's chapter of the Unemployment Action Center has emerged as the largest and most active one in the city. The organization provides free legal representation to unemployed New Yorkers who have been denied insurance and other benefits.

SELECT PRO BONO PROJECTS

CAP
(Courtroom Advocates Project)
Students assist victims of domestic violence to file petitions for orders of protection in Brooklyn Family Court against their batterers.

CLARO
(Civil Legal Advice and Resource Office)
Students work in Brooklyn Civil Court advising consumer debtors regarding their court actions and understanding their other options. Founded by BLS and the Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project, the innovative program has been studied and replicated throughout the city.

HIGH SCHOOL FOR LAW AND JUSTICE
Along with Cravath Swaine & Moore and the Red Hook Community Court, law students mentor high school students interested in the law.

LEGAL OUTREACH
At this college-bound program for inner city children, law students teach criminal law to familiarize young students with legal concepts.

PROJECT FAIR
Students provide fair hearing assistance information for those seeking public assistance, food stamps, or Medicaid.

UNEMPLOYMENT ACTION CENTER
Volunteers assist those who have lost their jobs to bridge the income gap until they find other work.

VITA
(Volunteer Income Tax Assistance)
In this program, which is sponsored by the IRS, law students are trained and then help low wage earners to file tax returns

Seth Cohen '09 Seth Cohen '09 "As a Sparer Fellow, I worked at Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, providing transactional legal assistance to community not-for-profits. As a BLSPI Fellow, I was at the Civil Rights Bureau of the State Attorney General's Office. These experiences gave me new insight into the differing ways the law can be leveraged to increase opportunities for traditionally disempowered people." Seth Cohen is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Law and Policy, the winner of three CALI awards, and a member of the Moot Court Honor Society. He plans on using his law degree to work on behalf of low-income communities in New York City.