Transgender, Gender-Variant & Intersex Pro Bono Project


The Transgender Gender-Variant & Intersex (TGI) Pro Bono Project supports transgender and gender diverse people. We support individual clients by helping them file for name and gender marker changes in Santa Clara County and are working on a series of videos clarifying the name and gender marker change process in California for individuals looking to file on their own. We also assist incarcerated trans people by answering legal mail and conducting research on remedies to civil rights violations. Students will have flexibility about which projects they want to get involved with. This pro bono project is the place for anyone passionate about trans advocacy, but also is a great fit for any student looking to gain exposure to a variety of skills, like legal research and direct client services, that can be used in other experiences and areas of interest.

Commitment Required of All New Members:

The TGI Pro Bono Project has many different facets, and we encourage you to take on as much or as little as fits your interests and time. In other words, students can choose to be involved in as many of our projects as they would like. Many of the skillsets you gain from the project can be applied to different legal careers, regardless of the areas you choose to practice in.

Legal Research: We work with two partners. For Prison Law Office, we assist drafting and sending California PRA records requests to solicit information about trans prisoners from local jails. This upcoming year we will also be working with the TGI Justice Project to research potential state and federal legal claims that trans incarcerated people can use when their civil rights are violated. We will then use this research to build intake forms for clients that answer all elements of the legal claim. Students are encouraged to indicate which part(s) of the research they would like to be involved with. They can expect to spend 3-4 hours every few weeks on related research projects. However, the workload is flexible and can be done at any point during the quarter.

Legal Mail: We partner with the TGI Justice Project to answer legal questions from trans incarcerated people. There is about an hour of additional training, but after that you can do as many as 1-2 letters a week, or as few as 1-2 letters a quarter.

Direct Services: We work in partnership with the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley to help clients file for name and gender marker changes in Santa Clara County at no cost. The process involves reaching out to the client and filling out the legal paperwork for filing, which will be reviewed by an LFSV attorney before it is submitted to the court. This process will take an estimated 5 hours per client over a couple of weeks. Scheduling will depend on your availability and the availability of clients. Volunteers may also be invited to give presentations on the name and gender marker change around campus and at other locations in Santa Clara County to educate people about the process and advertise our services.

Video Development: We are working on a series of videos walking viewers through the process of changing their name and gender markers and the additional considerations for minors, incarcerated people, and undocumented folks, etc. Students will draft video scripts, then go through 1-2 rounds of revision, taking about 10 hours per quarter.

Open Membership Spots: 10

Adv. Degree Student Participation: Permitted

Winter Start: Permitted, But Fall Start Preferred

Eligible for Meeting NYS Bar Pro Bono Requirement: Likely for direct services work; unlikely for video production work.

Project Leaders: Emily Bruell, Emma Dougherty, and Amanpreet Singh