Disclaimer: The San Francisco Paralegal Association (SFPA) Community Service and Pro Bono Committee thanks you for visiting our web site. We provide information as a service to our members and the San Francisco Bay Area community. Our program takes advantage of the legal skills and training of paralegals from all practice areas and settings and offers them the opportunity to contribute their expertise and gain experience and contacts while serving nonprofit organizations. By using this site, you accept and understand that SFPA is not responsible for the consequences of using or relying upon any information found on this site. Our Association does not necessarily support the views of the organization that offers the internships or other volunteer opportunties presented through our website. SFPA does not imply our endorsement, sponsorship, or recommendation of each organization. Our Association does not maintain insurance for individuals who wish to apply for internships, and internship liability is confined solely to the individual and not our Association. Volunteers assume responsibilities for their own actions and practice.

For more information on the Pro Bono Committee, please email:communityserviceprobono@sfpa.com.


Current Pro Bono Opportunities

 Pro Bono Opportunity  Description

For over 40 years, Legal Assistance to the Elderly (LAE) has provided free legal advice and representation in civil matters to seniors and disabled San Franciscans.  Our mission is to keep this vulnerable community safe, financially secure and housed.  Our primary practice areas are Eviction Defense/Housing (tenants only), Income Support (Social Security and SSI), Elder Abuse Prevention, Consumer issues and Debt Collection Defense.  Additional areas of practice include Wills, Powers of Attorney and Conservatorship Defense. LAE is a friendly and collaborative work environment. 

Internship Description: 

LAE interns are an integral part of our staff and are given significant responsibilities.  We have seen that by providing support, training and supervision to our interns, they excel.  The work of our interns is invaluable to us, but more importantly, it truly makes a significant difference in the lives of our clients. This is a very hands-on internship where you will have significant client contact; the ability to prepare discovery and pleadings, and the opportunity to go to attend court proceedings with attorneys. 

The primary focus of our office is eviction defense,which is an active and fast paced civil litigation practice and the bulk of the cases LAE sees.  Because evictions are summary proceedings, interns are generally able to work on cases from start to finish.  The quick pace of the litigation gives interns an opportunity to participate in all aspects of a case: interviewing clients and evaluating the case for merit; drafting pleadings and discovery plans; preparing for depositions; attending Court-mandated settlement conferences; and trial preparation.  In Addition, we often enter eviction law suits at critical moments in the procedural process when clients have defaulted and evictions are imminent.  This work requires immediate filing of motions and ex parte applications.  General housing worn can consist of client interviews and follow up advice letters. We also work closely with community social workers and medical professionals around disability rights and requests for reasonable accommodations for housing retention.

In addition to our housing attorneys, our office has an elder abuse attorney, a consumer debt defense attorney, a health law attorney and a benefits practice area. Interns are able to work on other cases as desired.

Office Culture:

LAE’s office atmosphere is professional, but friendly and informal.  We work 35+ hours a week.  Wednesday mornings we have a case conference to review and place the new cases, and the rest of the week is filled with casework, i.e. client meetings, court appearances, gathering evidence and preparing pleadings. 

We prefer interns to commit to at least 1½ to 2 days per week, with attendance at the weekly case meeting required.

Last revision 11/12/19.


The Alameda County Public Defender's Office, established in 1927, is one of the oldest public defense offices in the United States. The Office’s reputation for exceptional legal representation to indigent clients is due to its historically rigorous professional and ethical standards. The Alameda County Public Defender’s Office takes pride in being a leader in holistic defense. With the addition of the first immigration removal defense unit to be embedded within a public defender office in California, a team of social workers, reentry programs that include a clean slate practice and voter registration, and a know-your-rights program for youth, we have expanded what it means to advocate for our clients. 

Immigration Representation Unit Volunteer Paralegal Position at 545 4th Street, Oakland

The Immigration Representation Unit of the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office defends immigrants impacted by the criminal legal system from detention and deportation by the Department of Homeland Security. First, the Unit provides critical legal advice (Padilla consultations) to public defenders representing immigrants in criminal proceedings in order to help them mitigate or avoid devastating immigration consequences. Secondly, the Unit provides representation to immigrant clients of the public defender’s office in deportation proceedings before the Immigration Court, Board of Immigration Appeals, or U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Unit also provides post-conviction relief representation to individuals with prior criminal convictions in order to eliminate or minimize the immigration consequences of those convictions. Finally, the Unit has a thriving federal litigation practice that includes challenging the legality and constitutionality of actions by DHS or by the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

  • Index and Prep Documents for filing – involves copying, paginating, two-hole punching indexing exhibits for submission to courts. 
  • Requesting and Securing copies of criminal conviction documents from various county courts and police departments– involves identifying the process for obtaining records from each court or police department and completing the process for obtaining necessary records. 

  • Requesting and obtaining various other records when necessary including birth certificates, medical history records, other records. 

  • Document Review – searching for necessary facts in documents

  • Proof reading briefs, motions, etc. 

  • Possible country conditions research or other web based research in support of legal claims prepared by attorneys. 


  • Experience: Immigration law office experience preferred but training is provided. 

  • Length of assignment: 4 months minimum but 6 months preferred

  • 8 hours per week minimum, during hours of operation: M-F 9:00-5:00

  • Remote work available for language paralegals only (translating documents).

Please contact Raha Jorjani, Supervising Immigration Defense Attorney, at Raha.Jorjani@acgov.org  When applying, please submit a cover letter and resume.

Clean Slate Volunteer Paralegal Position at 545 4th Street, Oakland 

The Alameda County Public Defender’s Office Clean Slate Program is a unique opportunity to work with criminal justice impacted reentry clients. Our program helps people clean up their criminal records to help them access jobs, occupational licenses, and more. We are one of the few public defender office clean slate programs in the country offering representation in both criminal records remedies and employment and licensure matters. Our program hosts biweekly clinics in partnership with the East Bay Community Law Center at our Oakland and Dublin offices. We also attend community events and trainings to bring our program directly to the population we serve.

Under general supervision of an attorney, volunteer paralegals would perform a variety of paraprofessional legal duties including, but not limited to: 

  • Communicating with clients and serving as a liaison between clients and attorneys; 

  • Drafting and preparing legal documents, including petitions and orders for dismissal;

  • Processing applications and intake forms submitted by clients seeking assistance;

  • Collecting and analyzing documents to be used in support of Clean Slate petitions;

  • Inputting client and case file data into spreadsheets; 

  • Organizing case files for court; and

  • Conducting basic legal research.


  • Experience: College graduate and prior legal experience preferred but not necessary. Training provided. 

  • Length of assignment: 6 months minimum but1 year preferred.

  • 16 per week minimum Remote work is not available

Please contact Sue Ra, Recruitment Coordinator, at sue.ra@acgov.org . When applying, please submit a cover letter, resume, and a writing sample of no more than three pages.     

Last revision on 11/1/19.

          Image result for transgender law center




Transgender Law Center (TLC) is the largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all people. Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, TLC employs a variety of community-driven strategies to keep transgender and gender nonconforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for liberation.

TLC's Legal Information Helpline receives over 1,000 requests every year from transgender people and their family members seeking legal information and referrals. TLC is based in Oakland and welcomes remote or in-person volunteers for the following roles:

Legal Information Helpline Response Volunteer:

Response volunteers answer questions with the help of TLC's database of legal information and TLC staff training and support. All incoming questions come in through a web portal and are answered by email; volunteers do not need to respond to questions in real time. All training and volunteer work can be done remotely. Volunteers commit to answering at least ten questions a month for three months, approximately a ten-hour-a-month commitment. 

Legal Information Helpline Intake Volunteer:

Intake volunteers help process incoming calls and voicemails, perform intakes, and gather information from Helpline callers so that Helpline response volunteers can provide complete and personalized answers to their legal questionsIntake volunteers who are able to come into TLC's downtown Oakland office on a semi-regular basis are especially helpful, but committed remote volunteers are also welcome. Intake volunteers commit to contributing at least four hours a week.

No particular expertise or background is necessary, but a knowledge of basic legal terminology and processes and strong communication skills and cultural sensitivity are helpful. Those interested in either role should email Ian Anderson, Legal Services Coordinator, at ian@transgenderlawcenter.org.

Last reviewed on 12/6/19.  No changes requested.

 Image result for bay area legal aid logo

Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal) is committed to ensuring fairness in the civil justice system for the most vulnerable members of our community and addressing systemic inequities that foster intergenerational poverty. Practicing in seven Bay Area counties, BayLegal is the largest provider of free civil legal services in the Bay Area. We help clients protect their livelihoods, their health, and their families. Our clients include the working poor, families with children, foster youth, seniors, immigrants, veterans, and persons with disabilities. Through our regional county offices, our mobile advocacy clinics, and our nationally-recognized Legal Advice Line  and Health Consumer Center hotlines, BayLegal's mission is to  prevent domestic violence and sexual assault, increase economic stability, protect consumers, expand access to healthcare, and prevent homelessness. For our clients, BayLegal makes the difference between staying in poverty and thriving toward a brighter future.

Seeking Paralegal Support for Domestic Violence/Family Law Unit (4 month commitment in Spring 2020)

The Project: BayLegal seeks paralegals/paralegal students to volunteer from January 13, 2020 to May 15, 2020 with the Domestic Violence/Family Unit in several of our regional offices. The paralegal/paralegal student will be trained and supervised by a Family Law attorney based in the local office.

BayLegal' s family law attorneys represent low-income survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in an array of family court proceedings, including dissolution, child custody and support, paternity cases, and restraining orders. Attorneys also represent immigrant survivors of interpersonal violence in seeking and obtaining immigration relief through U visa, VAWA, and Adjustment of Status petitions.

Volunteers would assist attorneys in preparing for trial (creating trial binders, organizing and marking exhibits, calendaring pre-trial deadlines, etc.), drafting and responding to discovery; preparing subpoenas; fact and cite checking legal briefs; preparing proofs of service; e-filing court documents; drafting correspondence to clients & opposing parties/counsel; organizing case files; closing case files; updating databases; indexing documents; preparing TOCs and TOAs; and completing administrative tasks as necessary.


  • Alameda County Regional Office (Oakland): 1volunteer, 10-15 hours per week (days flexible)
  • Contra Costa County Regional Office (Richmond): 1volunteer, one day per week (hours and days flexible)
  • San Francisco County Regional Office (SF): 1volunteer, 10-12 hours per week (days flexible)
  • San Mateo County Regional Office (Redwood City): 1volunteer, 8 hours per week (days flexible)
  • Santa Clara County Regional Office (San Jose):1 volunteer, one day per week (hours and days flexible)

To apply: Please email a resume, cover letter, and list of references to probono@baylegal.org with "Volunteer Paralegal Position" in the subject line. In your cover letter, please specify the regional office(s) where you would like to volunteer.

Deadline: Applications accepted on a rolling basis until positions filled.

Questions: If you have specific questions about the project, please contact Kemi Mustapha at kmustapha@baylegal.org.

BayLegal thrives on our diversity and we are proud to be an equal opportunity employer.  We are committed to building

a culturally diverse workplace and strongly encourage women, persons of color, LGBTQ individuals, veterans, personswith disabilities, and persons from other underrepresented groups to apply. 
Last revision on 11/11/19.

   Legal Access

Paralegals with relevant legal subject matter experience may be able to volunteer at certain Legal Access pro per assistance clinics, including:

·           Guardianship Day of Court Clinic: Held every first and third Friday of the month from 9am-12pm at theBerkeley Courthouse. Volunteers assist self-represented litigants referred by the probate examiners to correct mistakes or complete judicial forms. Supervising expert attorneys are on-site to help and answer any questions. Volunteers must complete training prior to volunteering.


·           Community Legal Assistance Saturday Program (CLASP): Held every first Saturday of the month from 10am-2pm at the Alameda County Law Library in Oakland. Non-attorney volunteers are recruited each month to assist with client intake, interpretation services, client management and administration of the clinic.


·           Low-Income Landlord Clinic: Provides eviction assistance in nuisance and/or non-payment of rent cases to low-income landlords or master tenants in Alameda County. Volunteers assist with preparation of notices, judicial forms, and explaining court procedures. The clinic is held every Tuesday morning from 9am-11am at Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland. Supervising expert attorneys are on-site to help and answer any questions. Volunteers must complete training prior to volunteering.

*Volunteer interpreters needed for many clinics specifically Spanish, Cantonese and Mandarin*


Amarilis Medrano, Clinics and Volunteer Coordinator 

Phone: (510) 302-2219

Email: amarilis@acbanet.org 

For more information: www.legalaccess.org





The Eviction Defense Collaborative (EDC) in San Francisco seeks paralegals and paralegal students interested in housing rights and social justice to volunteer in our office located at 1338 Mission Street, San Francisco. EDC is the principal nonprofit legal services organization in San Francisco helping low-income tenants respond to eviction lawsuits. Each year we provide emergency legal services and rental assistance to over 5,000 tenants through our drop-in clinic.


EDC’s volunteers are essential to the day-to-day operations of our drop-in legal and Referral clinic:

Volunteers will conduct legal intakes for tenants being evicted in San Francisco and use our referral database to refer tenants to their lawyers.  For tenants who don't get a lawyer, the volunteer will also prepare a full legal answer to the eviction lawsuit and judicial council fee waiver forms. 

  • No experience is required.  Training will be provided. 
  • 8-10 week assignment at office location. 
  • 9-5, 5 days a week 
  • 36-40 hours per week required
  • Must be able to do a minimum of 8 weeks. 
  • No remote work is permitted. 

EDC strives to create a team that reflects the diversity of the tenant community we serve. People of color, immigrants, women, and LGBTQ people are strongly encouraged to apply. 

To apply for a volunteer opportunity, please send a brief cover letter and resume to volunteer@evictiondefense.org.

Last revision 11/3/19. 

 Image result for fair housing advocates of northern california

Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California (FHANC) (formerly Fair Housing of Marin) is a non-profit agency dedicated to promoting equal housing opportunities in Marin, Sonoma and Solano Counties. Fair Housing is hiring “testers” as on call employees to help with investigations of housing providers. It is a flexible role with no guaranteed minimum number of hours per month. Testers are given profiles and are then instructed to contact rental agents, visit sites, and ask questions at the pre-application stage. Testers then provide a detailed written report about the experience.  FHANC compares reports of testers to determine if any group is being treated unfairly. The information gathered through tests can be used as evidence to support a housing discrimination complaint. 

Trained testers assume the role of homeseeker and report on their experience. Testers are paid $30 for phone tests or $60 per housing site visit test plus a travel reimbursement of .58 cents per mile traveled to and from a site. To be considered, individuals must:

  • Attend a three hour tester training at office located at 1314 Lincoln Avenue, San Rafael 
  • Have good observation skills and be able to write clear, objective reports.
  • Have reliable transportation.
  • Be available approximately 2-4 hours for each investigation, some of which may be done on weekends or evenings.
  • Conduct a practice test. (paid $25 plus travel expenses)

Please email or call Abraham Ramirez at abraham@fairhousingnorcal.org or (415) 483-7563 if you are interested in joining our team of fair housing testers. Last revision 11/18/19. 

Image result for project sentinel logo

About Project Sentinel

Project Sentinel is a government-supported, nonprofit  agency that provides education, counseling, investigation, and advocacy services to individuals with housing related issues. As part of our mission to uphold the laws that prohibit housing discrimination, we conduct testing and surveying to ensure that housing providers comply with fair housing laws. 

What is fair housing testing?

Fair housing testing is an investigative tool used to determine if a housing provided treats people differently because of their membership in a protected category.

  • Take two testers posing as equally qualified prospective tenants. One has a protected characteristic and one does not.

  • Both testers inquire about a housing opportunity by phone, email, or in person, and gather information about their experience.

  • Both testers document their interaction with the housing provider by writing a report narrative.

  • The Civil Rights Investigations Coordinator compares each tester’s experience in terms of quality and quantity of information provided.

  • If evidence suggests discrimination, Project Sentinel works with the Property Owner, Landlord, or Manager to educate and correct the practices. Depending on the case, some investigations may be referred to California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing or the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development for more investigation.

Note on the Legalities of Testing

The United States Supreme Court held that “all persons” have “a legal right to truthful information about housing,” regardless of whether a person intends to buy or rent a specific home. Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman, 102 S. Ct. 1114 (1982).

Fair Housing Tester Job Description

Fair Housing Testers participate in investigations by posing as prospective renters and buyers of real estate to gather information which may assist Project Sentinel to determine whether housing providers are complying with local, state, and federal Fair Housing laws. Testers are assigned to act as prospective tenants and simulate ordinary housing transactions for the purpose of gathering credible and objective information about housing market practices. Testers may also be required to testify about their test experiences.

Tester and Surveyor Screening Process

  • Potential Testers & Surveyors attend a Tester Training and fill out an application.

  • The Investigations Coordinator follows up 1:1 with attendees to schedule a Practice Test and Debrief

  • If completed correctly, potential testers and surveyors will have to pass a background check

  • If cleared, you are now added to our roster of active testers and surveyors & are awaiting assignment.

Tester and Surveyor Duties and Responsibilities

  • Maintains Communication with the Investigations Coordinator in a timely manner throughout testing investigation.

  • Completes test assignments and other work assignments in a timely manner.

    • Case assignments include phone tests, onsite tests, surveying calls, or onsite surveying throughout our service area.

  • Provides sworn statements and testimony in depositions, trials and other legal proceedings.

  • Maintains accurate and complete information in paper and electronic files regarding all job duties.

  • Other duties as assigned by the investigations Coordinator

  • Participates in and successfully completes the training program for fair housing testers

  • Maintains confidentiality about all testing activities

  • Conducts tests in accordance with test assignments, instructions, and general testing guidelines

  • Reports test experiences in a factual, accurate, objective, and complete manner.

  • Participates in and successfully completes supplemental training for testers as required.

  • Conscientiously handles and submits all recorded and documentary evidence to the Investigations Coordinator

What We’re Looking For

We’re looking for individuals who have a passion for social justice, and Fair Housing. Individuals must be motivated, enthusiastic, and dependable. Due to our community needs, bilingual testers and surveyors are especially needed. Testers and Surveyors work remotely after attending a Tester Training with the Investigations Coordinator. No prior experience required. We are looking for an ongoing commitment of at least six months. Successful testers are those who:

  • Follow specific directions

  • Practice good communication skills (oral and written)

  • Have attention to detail and accuracy

  • Ability to act the role of a potential tenant in a variety of situations

  • Dependable and able to complete test assignments in a timely manner

  • Ability to work cooperatively and effectively with diverse groups of people

  • Good listening and observing skills

  • Understands importance of confidentiality and objectivity

  • Personable and pleasant demeanor

  • Commitment to enforcement of Fair Housing Laws

  • Valid driver’s license and access to a vehicle helpful, but not required

  • Willingness to travel throughout Santa Clara County and other service areas is a plus


The role of testers and surveyors is not a position with a specific set schedule or number of work hours per week. Testers are compensated on a case by case basis. Testers can work more frequently depending on how many assignments they choose to accept. Tester compensation depends on the type of case the tester is working on. Testers are also compensated for mileage and postage

  • Phone/Email Test $25.00 (includes follow up calls); $15.00 if unsuccessful
  • Site Visit $55.00 ($20.00 if unsuccessful)
  • Survey $55.00 1sthour, $18 per additional hour; $20 if unsuccessful
  • Brochure Distribution $18.00 for 1sthour; $12.00 each additional hour
  • Extra Follow Up $12.00 (calls made in addition to normal follow up)

Contact our Civil Rights Investigations Coordinator, Mia X. Hernandez if you have any more questions.

mhernandez@housing.org| (408) 749-1856 (direct line) | (408) 338-8270 (cell)

Who can be a tester?

All are welcome to apply. To qualify, individuals must:

  • Be 18 or older;
  • Attend a tester training and complete a practice test;
  • Pass a background check;
  • Be reliable and committed to civil rights;
  • Be able to write and submit reports within 24 hours of completing a test.

People with fluency in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Tagalog, Hindi, Hmong, Farsi, and Russian are encouraged to apply. 

Upcoming Tester and Surveyor training: TBD

last revision 11/5/19.


Eden Council for Hope and Opportunity (ECHO) is a non-profit housing counseling agency. We investigate housing discrimination complaints. We also provide counseling, education and mediation between landlords and tenants. Our landlord-tenant programs provide information to both landlords and tenants about their rights and responsibilities. We also conduct first time home-buyer classes and contract with several cities to provide rent mediation for their residents. We do not provide legal help. 

We are always looking for people to become testers for our tester program. Testers pose as homeseekers looking for rental housing, collect information and report back to ECHO staff. 

Testers work as independent contractors and work for ECHO on an as needed, on-call basis. 

  • Testers are paid $45 per site test plus travel reimbursement of .45 cents per mile or $15 per phone test. 
  • Testers should have good writing and observation skills as well as being dependable and able to follow through with instructions.
  • Testers must complete a 2.5 hour training before they begin working.
  • Testers will need to fill out a tester application before they can attend a tester training as well as sign a confidentiality agreement.

We use testers throughout Alameda, Contra Costa and Monterey Counties.

For more information on ECHO, you may visit their website at http://www.echofairhousing.org/  Please email or call Angie at angie@echofairhousing.org or (510) 581-9380 ext 15 to apply or get more details.                                                                

Last revision on 10/25/19

Image result for aids legal referral panel small logo

Founded in 1983, the AIDS Legal Referral Panel (ALRP) provides free and sliding-scale legal assistance to people with HIV/AIDS in the San Francisco Bay Area.

For more information:  www.alrp.org

Job Description

ALRP Law Clerks provide essential support to the ALRP Client Services staff by serving as the first, and often the main point of contact for ALRP clients. Law clerk positions are available throughout the year for each trimester – Spring, Summer, and Fall.

See link below for full description of the Spring position.





The San Francisco Paralegal Association (SFPA) Community Service and Pro Bono Committee thanks you for visiting our web site. We provide information as a service to our members and the San Francisco Bay Area community. Our program takes advantage of the legal skills and training of paralegals from all practice areas and settings and offers them the opportunity to contribute their expertise and gain experience and contacts while serving nonprofit organizations.

By using this site, you accept and understand that SFPA is not responsible for the consequences of using or relying upon any information found on this site. Our Association does not necessarily support the views of the organization that offers the internships presented through our website. SFPA does not imply our endorsement, sponsorship, or recommendation of each organization. Our Association does not maintain insurance for individuals who wish to apply for internships, and internship liability is confined solely to the individual and not our Association. Volunteers assume responsibilities for their own actions and practice. 

San Francisco Paralegal Association • 1 Sansome St., Ste. 3500 • San Francisco, CA 94104-4448 • (415) 946-8935 • info@sfpa.com