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Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

The Lawyers' Committee of the San Francisco Bay Area is a civil rights and legal services organization that advances, protects and promotes the rights of communities of color and immigrants and refugees, with a specific focus on low-income communities and a long-standing commitment to African Americans. Founded in 1968 by the leading members of the San Francisco bar, Lawyers' Committee is the local affiliate of the national Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights under Law, which was established in 1963 at the behest of President Kennedy.

The Lawyers' Committee offers the following clinical services programs in which volunteer attorneys are needed:

To volunteer, please contact us at

Asylum Pro Bono Program

"Your Honor, we are feeling good today because we helped save a life."
- Quote from a pro bono attorney after a judge granted asylum

The Pro Bono Asylum Program needs your help as a volunteer attorney, interpreter, or mentor attorney. We provide volunteers with the opportunity to save refugees' lives by helping them win asylum in the U.S. Immigrants who have escaped persecution in their native countries based on their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion are eligible to seek protection under U.S. asylum laws.

Without legal status, immigrants are often trapped in abusive working conditions, denied basic health care, and separated from their families. They also risk being deported by U.S. immigration officials to countries where they may be persecuted, tortured, or killed. Your help is critical for refugees who cannot afford an attorney.

We assemble a volunteer legal team for each client. Our volunteer attorneys do not need to have past experience or training in immigration law. We offer comprehensive training on asylum law and procedure, and the website Probono.Net/Asylum contains manuals and model pleadings. Volunteer attorneys are also assigned mentors from the immigration bar to guide them in preparing their cases. Finally, our program provides ongoing support, "brown bag lunch" workshops, and networking opportunities to learn from and share information with other volunteers.

Volunteers assist clients in preparing asylum applications and represent clients before the U.S. Asylum Office, in Immigration Court, and at the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Some of our cases have reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

Legal Services for Entrepreneurs

Legal Services for Entrepreneurs (LSE) is an economic justice project that was first started at Lawyers' Committee in 1997. LSE provides free busi¬ness legal services to low-income individuals, including women and people of color, who want to start or develop for-profit busi¬nesses and for-profit businesses committed to community eco¬nomic development. To date, LSE has served over 1,000 clients.

LSE offers business attorneys a unique opportunity to work on pro bono matters that are more relevant to their practice areas than traditional pro bono litigation work. These matters cover the entire range of legal services necessary to begin or develop a business, including business entity, intellectual property, real estate, labor, and employment issues. The legal services provided by LSE and its participating pro bono attorneys are limited to discrete business law matters and do not include disputes, claims, or lawsuits. LSE also has numerous opportunities for transactional attorneys to lead legal workshops on business law issues to classes of low-income entrepreneurs, and to participate in monthly legal clinics.