Lawyers have a unique ability to defend our nation’s values, protect our institutions, and help people facing some of their darkest moments. How do lawyers find nonprofits to volunteer with? We The Action.
How We The Action works
We The Action is a digital platform where any volunteer can connect with nonprofits looking for assistance helping navigate legal challenges, from research to contract review to urgent response. Lawyers sign up at WeTheAction.org, create a profile, browse volunteer opportunities, and indicate their interest in volunteering for projects with the click of a button. Likewise, nonprofits create a profile, post projects describing their needs, and receive automatic notifications as lawyers express interest in their projects.
Volunteer Lawyers - Members of the We The Action community come from law offices big and small. They work for law firms, corporations, nonprofits, and in government. Some lawyers are stay-at-home parents or retirees. They range in experience from recent law graduates to seasoned advocates, from all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Nonprofit Partners - We The Action partners with nonprofits of all sizes, working on a variety of issues, and with varied legal needs. Our partners range in mission, focus, and size—from legacy organizations dedicated to racial justice to startups fighting to expand the right to vote.
Fighting the good fight
Helping Afghan refugees apply for visas or humanitarian parole
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3), grassroots civil rights and advocacy group. It has received requests on behalf of nearly 2000 individuals seeking to flee Afghanistan. Many of these individuals have direct connections to families in Washington State and elsewhere in the U.S., while others are Afghans who would be at high risk for persecution under the Taliban government.
There are hundreds of individuals and families who may be eligible to escape Afghanistan through these means, but CAIR Washington does not have the capacity to process these cases on its own. We The Actions is seeking volunteer attorneys and other legal professionals, students, and support staff to help our team process requests, gather documentation, and file immigration applications. Lawyers with experience with special immigrant visas (SIV), family-sponsored visas, and Humanitarian Parole are urgently needed. Lawyers who can speak Dari, Pashto, or Farsi are especially needed for this project, though lawyers who only speak English are also encouraged to apply.
Racial Justice Task Force to defend protesters following the murder of George Floyd
The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery shined a spotlight on the life-or-death consequences of the systemic racism and injustice pervading our society, and countless lawyers have taken to social media to offer their help. We The Action works with community-based and Black-led organizations who know where volunteer lawyers can have the greatest impact for their communities; national civil rights organizations and community-based nonprofits fighting unjust and abusive policies and practices that target or disproportionately affect communities of color.
Help immigrants caught in mass ICE raids by providing them with free legal support
The Mississippi Center for Justice helps community members locate detained loved ones, provide immigration legal assistance to those now facing removal, and ensure the care of children whose parents or guardians have been imprisoned. Central to the rule of law are the constitutional principles of due process and access to counsel. We The Action partnered with Tarjimly a nonprofit. The Tarjimly mobile app connects you with an on-demand translator or interpreter in their community of 10,000+ volunteers. Their vetted translators speak over 60 languages and are available in under 5 minutes to translate text, documents, voice notes, or get on a 3-way call.
Partnership with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to help formerly-incarcerated Floridians restore their right to vote
Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) is a grassroots, membership organization run by Returning Citizens (formerly convicted persons) who are dedicated to ending the disenfranchisement and discrimination against people with convictions. Florida voters passed Amendment 4 in 2018 to restore voting rights to people who had been convicted of certain felonies. However, financial obligations (e.g. fines, fees, or court costs) still block many people from reinstating and exercising their right to vote. FRRC has partnered with We The Action to recruit passionate pro bono attorneys who are willing to assist returning citizens throughout the modification process and advocate for relief as needed on a case-by-case basis.
We The Action
Since launching in July 2017, We The Action has grown to more than 41,000 lawyers nationwide volunteering on some of the nation’s most pressing issues: voting rights, racial justice, supporting immigrant communities, COVID-19, the eviction crisis, and more. To date, WTA lawyers have donated 250,000+ hours worth more than $103 million to more than 425+ organizations nationwide in areas including:
- Voting Rights and Fair Elections
- Environmental Issues
- Civil Rights
- Women’s Rights
- Criminal Justice
- Human Rights
- Good Government
- Domestic Violence
- LGBTQ Rights
- Consumer Protection
- Sexual Assault and Harassment
- Aging Populations
- Animal Law
- Transactional Law
We The Action volunteer lawyers are responding to this pandemic’s devastating threats such as promoting safe, free, and fair elections; to supporting efforts to supply medical professionals with personal protective equipment (PPE); to counseling dozens of organizations seeking federal relief; to protecting vulnerable populations, and helping detained immigrants and survivors of sexual assault.
TakeAway: Connecting skilled volunteers with groups that need their skills is a great idea! Support We The Action and let potential volunteers know about their services.
Image Credit: Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash