Tulane was the first law school to require pro bono work of all its students. Since 1987 law students have been required to engage in pro bono service. Each student must complete a minum of 30 hours of legal service on behalf of indigent persons or with non-profit, public interest organizations that serve the community, here or abroad. Placement opportunities in the New Orleans Metropolitan area include, but are not limited to: ACLU of Louisiana, The Advocacy Center, CASA, Fair Housing Action Center, Innocence Project New Orleans, New Orelans City Attorney's Office, Pro Bono Project, Project SAVE, Teen Court (Orleans Parish Juvenile Court) and Tulane Street Law. Tulane initiatives created specifically for the Pro Bono Requirement include the following:
ELLA is an initiative of Tulane Law School's pro bono program, the Tipitina's Foundation, and the Arts Council of New Orleans. It was formed in January 2005 in response to the overwhelming need for legal services by artists and entertainers who could not otherwise afford to hire attorneys to protect and enforce their rights. An entertainment law attorney who is an expert in intellectual property issues supervises Tulane law students as they help provide pro bono legal advice.
The Project for Older Prisoners (POPS) was established at Tulane Law School in 1989 to address the problems of prison overcrowding and the rapidly growing geriatric inmate population in Louisiana's prisons. POPS' primary mission is to aid elderly and infirm inmates in seeking parole. Students who choose to volunteer for Tulane POPS travel to one of five state prisons, where they conduct interviews of inmates who may be eligible for POPS representation at a future parole hearing. Law students gather data, contact relevant resources and analyze the case so that they may advocate for the selected inmate before the State of Louisiana Board of Parole. POPS presents an ideal opportunity for Tulane law students to gain experience in interviewing and in oral advocacy under the supervision of an experience practitioner. This program has gained national attention and has served as a model for similar programs across the nation.
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