IRVINE, CA—Students at the University of California, Irvine School of Law (UCI Law) have always worked to help the most vulnerable populations in need. While much of that work was previously done at on-site legal clinics and in-office volunteering with legal services organizations, students have now shifted gears and are increasing their efforts to help those in need by adding remote pro bono activities, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak and California’s mandated physical distancing orders.
Some of the work is related to COVID-19, and some is simply general legal casework. Examples include:
- Border X Project — students are helping with Humanitarian Parole requests to get individuals in detention centers out, as they are more susceptible to COVID-19.
- City Council Comments — students are actively tracking city and county activity as it relates to COVID-19, and submitting public comment where it may adversely effect the homeless or housing insecure.
- Document Delivery — students will be supporting legal services by delivering documents to seniors and the medically compromised, who are unable to go out to get their documents signed, or to pick up important legal papers.
- Research — students are conducting research for Community Legal Aid SoCal, Public Law Center, Public Counsel, Human Rights Initiative and Neighborhood Legal Services. The research relates to housing, probation, delinquency, immigration, and mental health. Some of this work is related to COVID-19 (effects on parental visitation in the dependency system during quarantine), while other work is broader (housing discrimination).
- Remote Clinics — earlier this month, students engaged in a remote legal clinic for transgender individuals, assisting with paperwork to request name and gender marker changes. The clinic was all done remotely via Zoom thanks in large part to the flexibility of the supervising attorney, Stephen Hicklin, who formed The Hicklin Firm in 2018.