World Day of Social Justice, February 2023
February 20, 2023, is the World Day of Social Justice. In recognition of this, NALA would like to provide paralegals with information on how to get involved in social justice initiatives nationwide. The Center for Advanced Legal Studies states that “a paralegal career gives countless opportunities to make a difference in the lives of many people. The role of the paralegal in the legal field often directly intersects with individual lives, local communities, and even the future direction of the law.”
Paralegals are often at the frontlines of advocacy efforts. Eddy Bermudez, Content Marketer and Chief Imaginist for PracticePanther, says that “paralegals help the most vulnerable people in our society find justice.” There are many ways that paralegals do this. Some examples are volunteering with the Innocence Project, helping during natural disasters, working with the Immigration Advocates Network, volunteering as a CASA, and doing pro bono work.
- With organizations across the US, the Innocence Project is on a mission to “free the innocent, prevent wrongful convictions, and create fair, compassionate, and equitable systems of justice for everyone.” Paralegals can get involved in an Innocence Project near them.
- One way that paralegals can provide assistance during and after natural disasters is by getting involved with the National Disaster Legal Aid Advocacy Center. Its goal is to “support public interest legal advocates helping communities recover, rebuild and grow resilience in the wake of disasters.”
- The Immigration Advocates Network is a “free national online network that supports legal advocates working on behalf of immigrants’ rights.” Paralegals can volunteer at locations nationwide. They may help with completing forms and filing with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. They may also represent immigrants at asylum interviews, before the Immigration Court, and before the Board of Immigration Appeals.
- CASAs are court appointed special advocates. They “advocate for the best-interests of children who have experienced abuse or neglect.” With numerous organizations in 49 states, paralegals can become CASAs no matter where they live. The CASA website makes it easy for volunteers to find opportunities in their state.
- Pro bono work is a significant way for paralegals to get involved in social justice initiatives. For opportunities nationwide, paralegals can choose their state on Pro Bono Net’s guide. NALA believes that the working relationship between the lawyer and the paralegal should extend to cooperative efforts on public service activities wherever possible. This includes pro bono work. More volunteer opportunities are available on the ABA’s website.
As World Day of Social Justice approaches, NALA encourages paralegals everywhere to get involved. There is no shortage of opportunities. Below is a list of additional programs you can volunteer with. This month and always, remember the importance of community involvement and lending your unique skills to those who need them most.
Election Protection Volunteers
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)