Community Services/Volunteer Opportunities


Below are pro bono and community service opportunities. For information on becoming 
active in AABA, visit our Committees page and contact a committee co-chair.

APILO/AABA Clinic

The AABA Community Services Committee and Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach (APILO) operate a pro bono legal clinic that is staffed by volunteer attorneys and law students. The clinic helps ensure that low-income Bay Area residents, including many mono-lingual immigrants, will receive free legal information and advice from AABA volunteers. The APILO/AABA Clinic assists individuals in a number of areas, including immigration and family law issues.

The Oakland clinic is held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at APILO’s office at 1305 Franklin Street, Suite 410. The San Francisco clinic is held on the 4th Wednesday of each month from 5:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at UC Hastings’ Civil Justice Clinic at 100 McAllister Street, Suite 300. The Committee extends a special thanks to Eumi Lee for making this endeavor possible.

Thank you to all the volunteers who have spent time and energy at the San Francisco and Oakland clinics. Their commitment reinforces the importance and value of community service!

If you are interested in volunteering at the clinic, please complete the volunteer intake here. The volunteer intake form contains information on the sign-up process. If you would like more information, please contact the AABA Community Services Committee co-chairs. Co-chairs are listed here. No prior training or expertise is required, and foreign language skills are in high demand (particularly Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese).


Other Volunteer Opportunities

Chinese Newcomers Service Center (CNSC) - Tax Attorney Volunteers Needed for Low-Income Tax Payer Clinic (LITC)

Chinese Newcomers Service Center (CNSC) is a non-profit  organization that provides multilingual services information and referral services to assist new immigrants with housing, food, immigration, citizenship, job referrals, computer training, consumer disputes, translation, and tax services.

CNSC’s free tax assistance services under LITC (Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic) seeks volunteer tax attorneys who can provide pro bono advice/representation/education to low-income clients with their tax issues.

For further information, please contact: ritagmah@chinesenewcomers.org

Volunteer Bankruptcy Attorneys Needed to Staff Legal Clinics

The Bankruptcy Pro Bono Project is seeking bankruptcy attorneys willing to volunteer their services to help low-income individuals involved in adversary proceedings. The BPBP is a cooperative effort of the United States Bankruptcy Court of the Northern District of California and numerous Bay Area bar associations and non-profit groups.

The BPBP sponsors legal clinics in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and Pleasant Hill and in Marin and Sonoma counties. Volunteer attorneys are needed to staff the clinics, which provide free, limited legal advice to persons who cannot afford legal counsel.

The people who come to BPBP clinics generally have nowhere else to turn. Helping them is a very laudable effort by the bar, said Chief Bankruptcy Judge Randall J. Newsome of the Northern District.

In addition to the bankruptcy court, BPBP members include the Northern District of California Bench-Bar Liaison; Bay Area Bankruptcy Forum; bankruptcy sections of the Bar Associations of San Francisco and Alameda counties; Volunteer Legal Services Program of the Bar Association of San Francisco; Alameda County Bar Association Volunteer Legal Services Corporation; Contra Costa County Bar Association; The Law Center (Contra Costa County); John F. Kennedy School of Law; the Contra Costa-Solano Center for Consumer Law and Self-Help; and the Pro Bono Project Silicon Valley.

To participate in the BPBP clinics, contact Wendy Kan at the bankruptcy court, (415) 268-2340, email: pro_bono@canb.uscourts.gov. Information regarding pro bono services is also available on the court’s website at: http://www.canb.uscourts.gov.

Recruiting Youth Court Judges

McCullum Youth Court is committed to offer youth offenders a second chance, change young lives, and impact communities by providing empowering opportunities for youth in Alameda County through restorative peer justice. McCullum Youth Court is recruiting judges to increase the ranks of professional attorneys available to volunteer several times a year at Court Night. For those who wish to be more involved, there are opportunities at certain times during the year to provide training and coaching to our youth attorneys. Their immediate need is for volunteer judges since they consistently have four courtrooms each Court Night and hence need 8 judges each month.

Youth Court provides a forum for youth offenders to accept the responsibility for their offenses and the consequences. It also exposes the volunteer youth attorneys and jurors to the basic workings of the legal system and inspires many to pursue an interest in the law. The hearings are held at the Washington Street courthouse and generally run from 6 to 8pm on Wednesday evenings. You can volunteer for one evening only, or more often if you’d like.

No advance preparation is necessary. Your role is to facilitate the conduct of the sentencing hearings, working from a scripted manual that they will provide to you. It is very straight forward and you do not need to have any trial experience.

McCullum Youth Court still needs judges for May 30th, June 20th, July 9th, and July 25th.

For more information about becoming a youth court judge volunteer, contact Rachel Sing.

The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF)-Law Academy Program

I am the director of special projects at The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) and I am seeking the assistance of the Minority Bar Coalition in placing students from our Law Academy program in summer internships.

The Law Academy is a School-To-Career program created to encourage, inspire and increase career opportunities for high school students. Academy students are juniors and seniors at Mission and Balboa High Schools whose core curriculum is tailored to teach legal concepts, social justice issues and job and life skills. Each week during the school term, volunteers from BASF’s Barristers Club work with the students and teachers to enhance the Law Academy curriculum.

The absolute highlight of this program is when students receive direct work experience as paid interns in law firms and legal corporations during the summer between their junior and senior years.

This spring there are forty (40)students that qualify for a summer internship! This is more than twice the amount from last year and while this is certainly an indication that the program has become increasingly popular, it presents me with twice the challenge! It is my hope that the Minority Bar Coalition can assist me in placing the students. I have enclosed additional information for your review.

The specifics of the internship are:

  • The internship begins June 19th and runs for 5 to 6 weeks with the students working 15 to 25 hours per week.
  • The students earn a minimum wage of $11.00 and can be paid directly by the employer or through the school district. The school district charges a 28% administrative fee. The hourly rate including this fee would then be $14.00 with $11.00 going to the student.
  • The total approximate cost is between $1,600 and $2,100 per student.
  • Students have to be placed by early April!

It is important to note that students that participate in this program benefit tremendously as proven by improved attendance in school, higher grades and advancement into post-high school education.

For more information, please contact Jayne Salinger, 415-782-8910 or jsalinger@sfbar.org.

BASF/Volunteer Legal Services Program - Interpreter Project

The Volunteer Legal Services Program (VLSP) connects volunteer attorneys with low-income clients who are in need of legal representation. Many of our clients are monolingual, and need interpreters to help communicate with attorneys at meetings, in depositions, at trial, and in the completion of paperwork. We are currently looking for volunteer law students or paralegals who speak Mandarin or Cantonese to serve as interpreters. Volunteering as an interpreter will allow you to assist someone in maneuvering through the legal process. In addition, the program will provide you with the opportunity to work under the direction of a volunteer attorney. We offer interpreter trainings periodically and provide each volunteer with ongoing support. Each client case is different and individual commitments vary depending on the nature of the case. Interpreters must be prepared and able to meet with clients and attorneys during business hours on the weekdays. After you attend our training and join our panel of volunteer interpreters, we ask that you commit to taking a minimum of two cases per year. For more information, contact Emily Rogers-Rhyme at erhyme@sfbar.org.

BASF/Volunteer Legal Services Program - Pro Bono Opportunities for Attorneys

The Volunteer Legal Services Program (VLSP)strives to enhance the income, self-sufficiency and general quality of life of poor and low-income San Francisco residents primarily through the use of volunteer resources. Our clients include immigrants, battered women and children, seniors, individuals facing eviction, children and adults with disabilities, homeless individuals and families, among others. We have numerous litigation and transactional pro bono opportunities for experienced and newer attorneys. Attorneys who volunteer with VLSP receive free training and MCLE credit, malpractice insurance coverage for their pro bono cases, access to meeting rooms and a mentor support system. Some of our project areas include: family law, eviction defense, homeless advocacy, tort defense, consumer, low income tax clinic, SSI advocacy and transactional business law. We also need experienced attorneys (especially immigration, workers compensation and family law attorneys) for our monthly Saturday legal advice and referral clinic. For more information, contact Lisa Wong at lwong@sfbar.org

BASF/VLSP - Summer Associates Participate in Pro Bono Program

The right firm. A great city. Professional work experience. Law students who land in San Francisco as summer associates are on the fast track to first-rate employment after graduation. But firms can also offer summer associates the unique opportunity to accelerate their development as attorneys by offering them access to pro bono work. Since 1997, summer associates have gained hands-on experience and training through the Summer Associate Public Service Program sponsored by the Barrister’s Club Pro Bono Issues Committee. Volunteers provide free legal services to San Francisco’s homeless residents through VLSP’s Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP). Participants attend a daylong HAP training seminar that outlines common legal issues for homeless and low-income citizens. Summer associates are then given HAP clients to represent in areas such as eviction defense, disability rights, and disability benefits advocacy.

To learn how your firm can be a part of the Summer Associate Public Service Project, contact Zachary Potter at zachary.potter@hklaw.com for more information.

AIDS Legal Referral Panel Seeks Volunteers

The AIDS Legal Referral Panel (ALRP) provides free and low-cost legal services to people with HIV/AIDS. Attorneys attending ALRP’s free MCLE trainings are requested to join its panel and accept two ALRP referrals per a year. ALRP relies on its volunteer panel of attorneys for the majority of the pro bono and sliding scale legal services it provides. ALRP is seeking AABA members to join its panel. The training sessions qualify for MCLE credit. Contact Jill DiGiovanni at (415) 701-1200 x 303 or jill@alrp.org.

Legal and Society - Employment Law Center

Cantonese, Mandarin and Spanish-speaking volunteers are needed to help translate and provide legal counseling. The Legal Aid Society of S.F./Employment Law Center (LAS-ELC) provides free legal counseling to thousands of unemployed and low-income workers each year through its Workers’ Rights Clinics. In return, the interpreters get direct experience working with clients in legal matters, sharpen their intake and legal interpretation skills, work alongside many of the Bay Area’s top employment attorneys, gain valuable and practical knowledge of legal rights in the workplace, and have the satisfaction of providing a critical service to the local Chinese and Spanish-speaking communities.

A background in legal work is very helpful, but not required.

Interpreters need not be lawyers. Time commitment is one evening per week for a few months. Volunteers currently are needed for Monday and Wednesday evening clinics.

For information, contact King Szeto at kszeto@las-elc.org.

Legal Language Access Project

The Legal Language Access Project seeks interpreters who are proficient (both verbal and written, if applicable) in English and another language, in particular, Mien, Vietnamese, Lao, Cambodian, Korean, Tagalog, Russian, Spanish, Farsi, and Amharic. LLAP provides interpreters with training on poverty law and community interpreting to provide language assistance to indigent clients with limited English proficiency. LLAP also seeks volunteers to edit/proofread translations of written materials. For information, contact Karen Hoy at llap@fambridges.org or phone: 510-839-2270 ext. 306.

Rape Trauma Services of San Mateo County

RTS is a non-profit organization serving children and adults who have been hurt by the trauma of sexual abuse/assault/harassment.

RTS is looking for volunteers to serve as advocates, counselors, educators, and advisory board members. RTS is also seeking attorneys with expertise or interest in domestic violence and sexual assault issues to help API survivors of sexual assault with related legal issues. RTS is also looking for assistance from people knowledgeable about Filipino and Pacific Islander communities, preferably in San Mateo County.

For information, contact Thea Lee Woon, MFT, at ricecooker@hotmail.com. Volunteer training is offered twice a year: May-June and October-November.


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