Student ProBono Projects
Touro Law students are actively in engaged in many pro bono projects throughout the year. Here is a look at some active projects being spearheaded by student organizations. If you are interested in joining one of these efforts, or starting your own, please contact Thomas Maligno
, Director of ProBono, at (631) 761-7033.
Center for Restorative Practices - Conference Facilitators
The Center for Restorative Practices is engaged in what is called Conferencing with youth offenders. The conferencing circles are a substitute for the judicial process for juvenile offenders facing Juvenile Delinquency Petitions and Persons In Need of Supervisions (PINS) Petitions. The goal of this process is to help Juvenile Offenders gain insight into the real life consequences of their behavior by having them interact with the victim of their crime. Touro Law students are being trained as Conference Facilitators, playing an active role in this collaborative law process and gaining interpersonal experience as well as learning how to interact with clients. Upon completion of training each student will receive a Certificate of Completion of Training from IIRP (International Institute of Restorative Practices.) This project is being spearheaded by the Public Interest Law Organization of Touro (PILOT).
Gulf Coast Service Trips
Twice annually members of Touro Law's Student Disaster Relief Network travel to the Gulf Coast, including New Orleans, Louisiana and Biloxi, Mississippi. Students work with a variety of agencies to help people affected by Hurricane Katrina, including the Mississippi Center for Justice and the Southeast Louisiana Legal Services as well as non-profit groups such as Common Ground and the Meg Perry Center. Students work in the communities directly affected by Hurricane Katrina during a variety of legal assistance work in areas such as landlord/tenant, disability benefits, etc.
Law Help is a website designed to help low-income New Yorkers solve their legal problems. Touro Law student volunteers staff LiveHelp, an online, real-time chat service to assist and direct users toward available and relevant self-help materials, legal assistance organizations and court information. LiveHelp provides a simple, straightforward opportunity to help people in crisis and teaches student volunteers about a wide range of common legal problems. Students attend training and then volunteer for a certain number of hours per week for the semester for the project.
LeGaL Drop-In Clinic for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Members
This effort is being spearheaded by Professor Lewis Silverman and the students of AMICUS, the Lesbian & Gay Law Students Association. Students are working to establish a bimonthly drop-in clinic, where students, in conjunction with admitted attorneys will provide legal advice and referrals to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community members on Long Island, who are struggling with a variety of legal issues.
Mock Trial Central Islip High School
Touro Law students in the Black Law Students Association, the Latino American Law Students Association and Moot Court developed a coaching schedule from January- April to work with a local high school mock trial team. The groups provided a total of 5-6 law students that consistently works with the high school team 2-4 days a week, with each student being assigned to a particular day to assist for a few hours after school to prepare them for local and regional competitions.
Nassau Bus System Project
The Disability Law Society in conjunction with Nassau/Suffolk Law Services and Long Island Jobs with Justice (LIJwJ), is working on a litigation project addressing deficiencies in the Nassau County transit program, which is currently operating in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
9/11 Victim Compensation Fund
Touro Law students have participated in the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund project. This regional collaborative project includes law students from New York area law schools working together with Victim Compensation Fund administrators, Access to Justice Initiative, the City Bar Justice Center and the National Center for Access to Justice at Cardozo Law School. Students received training to help candidates and potential recipients prepare and file their claims for relief. Students interviewed individuals and helped them fill out electronic forms and upload documents to the online system. Touro Law's participation in this project is being spearheaded by the Italian-American Law Students Society.
School Suspension Project
Touro Law and the Suffolk County Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union have joined forces to protect students’ rights by working collaboratively on the School Suspension Project. The project trains law students to represent suspended public school students at superintendent’s hearings and help safeguard their right to education. There is a tremendous need to increase access to representation for low-income students and parents facing suspension hearings. Additionally, there is an overwhelming concern that the due process rights of students and parents alike are being violated. This project is being overseen by the Touro Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Street Law Project
The Street Law Project involves a presentation by Touro Law's Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA) members, supervised by a practicing attorney, that attempts to empower the Hispanic Community by informing them about their rights under the law. There is much misinformation and predatory practices that deeply affect the Latin American Community. Recently, LALSA students gavea presentation on President Obama’s Executive order “deferred action”.
Suffolk County ProBono Foreclosure Assistance Program
The Suffolk County ProBono Foreclosure Assistance Program allows students to work together with volunteer attorneys in assisting homeowners going through the foreclosure process. The goal of the program is to help familiarize homeowners with the foreclosure process, explain to them their legal rights, counsel them on their individual situations and, ultimately, help them save their homes.
Teenage Pregnant Mothers Project
Touro Law Center's Women's Bar Association (WBA) conducted research in the area of Minors Rights under the Law. On December 6, 2012 WBA members delivered two forty-five minute lectures to teenage parents from various school districts in Suffolk County. Topics included: statutory rape, emancipation, school district rights and responsibilities regarding your pregnancy and privacy, obtaining utilities, right to vote and legal obligations as parents.
TLC Heart was launched to aid those affected by Hurricane Sandy. TLC-HEART consists of a "heartline" and email system to field legal and non-legal inquiries from individuals and small business owners affected by the hurricane. Non-legal issues are referred to appropriate non-profit, government or other outside agencies. Legal issues are referred to volunteer attorneys or Touro Law's Disaster Relief Clinic to provide assistance to those in need. Students receive specialized disaster-relief training to answers calls and emails, complete intake forms and best assist those in need.
Unemployment Action Center (UAC)
Touro Law students are helping Long Island residents by advocating for them in unemployment insurance hearings as part of the law school’s chapter of the Unemployment Action Center (UAC). The UAC is a student-run non-profit organization that helps New York residents who are trying to claim their unemployment benefits. Approximately 30 students are involved in the pro bono project this year.
Students, who receive specialized training and work under the close supervision of faculty advisor Jack Evans, are able to represent claimants in hearings. Students are able to hold meetings, conduct research, contact the department of labor and advise clients at hearings.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
Touro Law students are providing free tax help to low and moderate income community members who need help preparing their own tax returns through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). Through this public service project, sponsored by the United States Internal Revenue Service and being overseen by Bethpage Federal Credit Union, more than 25 student volunteers have been trained and can file tax returns directly from the law school, a designated site for the program. This is the 4th year Touro Law students have participated in the project.