Poverty and Public Benefits

Pro Bono Opportunities
Community Service Opportunities


Students interested in legal placements should contact Elizabeth Walsh at ewalsh@wulaw.wustl.edu for more information.

Gateway Legal Services 

Gateway is a non-profit legal aid law firm dedicated to helping the poor and disabled, focusing primarily on consumer and social security issues.

  • Opportunities: client intake interviews and obtaining case files and medical records
  • Requirements/Qualifications:  approximately 3-4 hours per week; reliability

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation

Provides legal and supportive services to improve the lives of its clients to assist them in obtaining social and economic justice.

  • Opportunities: serve as a legal intern in the senior citizens, homeownership, or domestic violence projects; interns typically interview clients, investigate cases, draft pleadings, and in some cases represent clients in administrative or court hearings
  • Qualifications/Requirements: prefer 2Ls and 3Ls, prefer students who can make a two semester commitment; interview, training provided by directing attorney; can take 2-4 weeks before an internship can start; requires 10 hours per week (Monday through Friday)

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri

LSEM is a private, non-profit organization providing legal assistance and equal access to justice for low-income people in civil cases. Some of the areas addressed by the office include: domestic violence/family law, subsidized housing, homelessness (including homeless adolescents), homeowners' mortgage default and foreclosure, elderly issues, AIDS, health and welfare, immigration, access for children to appropriate educational services, and the volunteer lawyer program.

  • Opportunities: legal interns needed for above departments; tasks include: client intake, drafting pleadings and motion, filing at courthouses, research, assisting with interviewing clients, setting court dates, case management, drafting financial agreements, investigation, and advocacy.
  • Qualifications/Requirements: positions for all level students, some positions have preference for Rule 13, immigration unit prefers students who have had immigration class(es) and speak a second language; initial screening and then interview with attorney in desired unit; hour long orientation required

Midwest Pension Rights Project

The Midwest Pension Rights Project was started with seed money from the U.S. Administration on Aging as one of six projects nationwide to help individuals who have pension problems. The Project provides individual counseling and assistance to older women (over 55), as well as men and younger women, with pension problems free of charge. This is a good opportunity to gain exposure to ERISA and federal bureaucracy.

  • Opportunities: Client intake and interviewing; legal research
  • Qualifications/Requirements:  interview, resume, references, interest in working with the community; 2 hours per week, times available Monday-Friday from 9:00 am-5:00 pm


American Red Cross

The American Red Cross Chapter helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters.  It does this through services that are governed and directed by volunteers and are consistent with the corporate Congressional charter and the principles of the International Red Cross.

  • Opportunities: Disaster Volunteer provides relief services to victims off disasters; teaching lifesaving skills; blood drive worker; HIV/AIDS instructor; adult day care aide; leadership volunteers; fund-raising event volunteers; first-aid station team; speakers bureau.
  • Contact Information: American Red Cross St. Louis Area Chapter, 10195 Corporate Square, St. Louis, MO  63132; 516-2800; fax: 516-2821; info@redcrossstl.org interview, resume, references, interest in working with the community; 2 hours per week, times available Monday-Friday from 9:00 am-5:00 pm

Beyond Housing

The organization helps provide decent, secure, and affordable housing and support to low-income families and children. In addition to shelter, Beyond Housing provides families with vital support services, including training for homeownership, parenting skills, employment counseling, childcare assistance, money management training, vocational assistance, tuition support, cultural activities, and other special projects.

  • Opportunities: Possible real estate legal work may be available on a time-to-time basis; house crews are needed to prepare a home for a new family by cleaning, painting, landscaping, etc.; and Partners in Self-Sufficiency assists with family events, grant writing.
  • Qualifications/Requirements: 5-20 hours, Monday - Friday (8:00a.m.-5:00 p.m.). call for more information
  • Contact: Gloria Trice (grtrice@beyondhousing.org ) 4156 Manchester, St. Louis, MO 63110, 533-0600

Hosea House

Hosea House is an interfaith agency that provides emergency assistance and direct services to the needy of south St. Louis.

  • Opportunities: Client Intake volunteers are needed to assist in the interviewing of clients as they come in for their appointments to update their records and reassess their needs; the Food Pantry and Thrift Store need help in sorting through donations and helping clients; volunteers are needed with receptionist and clerical skills to assist with general office functions, filing, mailings, and answering phones and typing; assistance with a community garden; multiple volunteers are needed for planning, set-up, execution and cleanup of special events
  • Qualifications/Requirements: child abuse background check; volunteers needed sometime during the hours of operation (Tuesday-Friday 8:30 am-4:30 pm, and Saturday 8:30 am-noon)
  • Contact: Volunteer Coordinator, 2635 Gravois, St. Louis, MO 63118, 773-5438, fax 773-6140, fnjewls@usa.net

St. Louis Area Foodbank

The Foodbank solicits and purchases food, organizes food drives, supplies food for an entire month to needy families moving from shelters into permanent homes, and provides meals to needy children so that they may become self-sufficient adults in the future.

  • Opportunities: repackaging in salvage area (boxing items donated to foodbank)
  • Qualifications/Requirements: 3-hour shifts are available Monday-Saturday from 9:00 am-4:00 pm
  • Contact: Lenora Young, Food Drive Coordinator, 5959 St. Louis Ave., St. Louis 63120, 383-3335 x3101, fax 383-1371, lyoung@slafb.org

St. Louis Cares

A program of the United Way of Greater St. Louis Volunteer Center, St. Louis Cares is based on the programs of City Cares of America, a network of organizations that engage over 100,000 individuals in direct, hands-on service to their communities each year. St. Louis Cares knows that your time is valuable, so they help identify volunteer opportunities that are satisfying, safe, fun and make the most efficient use of your time--often, projects are completed in two hours or less.

  • Opportunities: numerous and varied, and take little time
  • Qualifications/Requirements: orientation/training required; call for more information
  •   Contact: Rick Skinner, Director of the Volunteer Center, 539-4284, skinnerr@stl.unitedway.org.

View Listing of Categories of Public Service Volunteer Opportunities