Service to Others
WMU-Cooley operates many pro bono services and programs to assist others in our community or those in need. Our faculty, staff and students have contributed hundreds of thousands of hours of free service per year to pro bono projects. It is the breadth and quantity of free legal assistance offered that distinguish WMU Cooley's efforts and commitment to service. Below are a list of initiatives each of the campuses have participated in over the years. Organizations served are selected by each campus every term.
ACLU Student Representative Project
The Student Representation Project of Mid-Michigan protects the rights of students in mid-Michigan. Volunteer advocates represent mid-Michigan public school students in suspension and expulsion hearings.
Appalred Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC)
The Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) is a free service provided by Appalred Legal Aid to assist low-income taxpayers who need help with tax problems and controversies such as: responding to IRS collection notices, audits or examinations, earned income tax credit problems, innocent spouse relief, self-employment issues, injured spouse claims, tax debts & installment agreements, offers in compromise, audit reconsideration, and tax court representation.
Asset Independence Coalition - Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
The Asset Independence Coalition delivers free income tax preparation to low to moderate income residents of Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Kids, Inc. Barry & Eaton County
CASA for Kids is a non-profit organization that trains and supervises volunteer advocates for the family courts in Eaton and Barry Counties. To help these children, CASA recruits, screens, trains, supervises, and evaluates community volunteers to advocate on behalf of these children.
Elder Law of Michigan, Inc. – Various Opportunities
Elder Law of Michigan, Inc. is a nonprofit charitable organization that promotes and protects the rights, health and economic well-being of older adults and people with disabilities by providing information, advocacy, legal advice and professional services.
End Violent Encounters (EVE), Inc.
Organization Description: EVE, Inc.'s primary purpose is to provide shelter, support, advocacy, counseling, and crisis intervention, as needed, for all persons experiencing domestic violence. Their PPO Office provides technical assistance and court advocacy to victims of domestic violence and stalking who are filing for or have a personal protection order.
Immigration Law Clinic
Since 1997, the Immigration Law Clinic, a program of St. Vincent Catholic Charities, has been providing low-cost immigration representation.
Legal Services of South Central Michigan (LSSCM)
Legal Services of South Central Michigan (LSSCM) is a private, non-profit agency which provides free civil legal services to people living below 200% of the federal poverty guideline and provides full representation to clients in the areas of family law, evictions, state and federal income benefits, and consumer and elder law issues.
Teen Court Lansing Juvenile Justice Diversion Program
Organization Description: Teen Court Lansing Juvenile Justice Diversion Program of Child and Family Charities is a non-profit organization affiliated with other community agencies in the greater Lansing area. The organizational mission is to identify non-violent, first-time youth offenders (ages 11-16) and encourage them to participate in a Peer Jury Model Court Disposition Process.
St. Michael’s Legal Center Family Law Pro Bono Case
St. Michael's Legal Center for Women and Children, Inc. (SMLC), formed in 2009, and serves persons in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus counties. The main purpose of the corporation is to provide legal advice and representation in the areas of Family Law, including child support, visitation, custody, and dissolution of marriage.
Florida’s Children First Pro Bono Research Project
Florida’s Children First (FCF) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to advancing the rights of at-risk children, especially those in foster care. Uniquely positioned as Florida’s premiere independent advocacy organization, our mission is to obtain meaningful and sustainable improvement in Florida’s child serving systems.
Veterans' Treatment Court Mentor Program
Organization Description: A court that allows honorably discharged veterans to get qualifying misdemeanor charges dismissed if they successfully complete a treatment and assessment program. Veterans must both volunteer to enter the court and be otherwise eligible to receive VA care.
VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Initiative
Organization Description: VITA delivers free income tax preparation to low to moderate income residents of Hillsborough County.
Bay Area Legal Services, at the Family Justice Center
Organization Description: The Family Justice Center, in operation since 2006, is a "one stop shop" where victims of domestic violence can receive free services from approximately 23 community agencies.
Bay Area Volunteer Lawyers Program (BAVLP)/Family Forms Clinic (FFC)
Organization Description: The FFC is a free program that uses volunteer attorneys, law students and law graduates to help people who do not have an attorney complete Hillsborough County's court approved family law forms and packets.
Organization Description: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group. CAIR is America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, with regional offices nationwide and in Canada.
Gulfcoast Legal Services – Various Opportunities
Organization Description: Gulfcoast Legal Services (GLS) is a non-profit corporation providing free legal assistance to income eligible residents of the greater Tampa Bay area.
Public Defender of Hillsborough County 13th Judicial Circuit
Organization Description: The Public Defenders represent adults and children charged with criminal offenses and clients held in civil commitment under the "Baker Act" and the "Sexually Violent Predator Act."
West Florida Center for Trafficking Advocacy
Organization Description: The West Florida Center for Trafficking Advocacy (WFC) exists to provide legal and professional services and advocacy for survivors of human trafficking and to service-providers, as well as to assist in trafficking-related legislation and policy matters.