My Pro Bono Experience

Karisa Chapa, Class of 2017

Choosing UCI Law is one of the best decisions I ever made. I have met incredible friends and been taught by brilliant professors, all while finding out exactly how I want to embark on my legal career. UCI Law also allowed me the unexpected opportunity of doing various pro bono projects with the military. I cannot imagine a school that provides its students as many opportunities to work with veterans as UCI Law, and for that reason I am exceptionally proud to be a Legal Anteater.

I began by working at the legal assistance office at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps. I started volunteering once a week during the second semester of my first year, and continue to do so in my second year. What I most enjoy in this job is getting to help many different types of people who have either served or otherwise supported the military. Some are enlisted teenagers right out of high school, some are the spouses of deployed service members, some are retired veterans, and some do not fit in any of those categories. It is inspiring to see people from all walks of life doing their part to serve the military.

I then began working on a veteran’s appeal case at the beginning of my second year. This is vastly different from Camp Pendleton because my fellow volunteers and I work on a single case remotely from campus. I have not met the veteran that we are working for, but by analyzing his military documents, we are learning his story of service on a level that otherwise would not be possible.

Of all the unique opportunities afforded to me at UCI Law, working with the military has definitely been the most rewarding.