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Berkeley Law Alternative Service Trips

Raised toward our $15,000 Goal
202 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on November 15, at 11:59 PM PST
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Berkeley Law Alternative Service Trips


Berkeley Law Alternative Service Trips (formerly Boalt on Break) is a student-led alternative service break organization that gives students the opportunity to provide pro bono legal services in communities outside of the Bay Area.

Our students travel to regions across the country, where they work alongside established legal services agencies. BLAST students are striving to do their part to make legal services more accessible to low-income and marginalized communities, and to help push for critical systemic reform.


In our first year as an organization, we sent eight students on one trip to eastern Kentucky. Read more about BLAST's inaugural trip here

During BLAST's inaugural trip, Megan, Amanda, Sara, and Caitlan provided crucial pro bono legal services to local community members. 
During BLAST's inaugural trip, Alex, Benjamin, Jarrod, and  Hannah drafted and filed an amicus brief for the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of the National Black Lung Association. 


This year, we are thrilled to be sending 48 students on five trips across the United States!  But we can't do it without your support. 




1. California Central Valley

Partnering Organization: Central California Legal Services

Berkeley Law students certainly need not travel far to work to improve access to legal representation in rural communities. The Central Valley, an agricultural hub that provides more than half of the produce grown in the U.S., is a vibrant, diverse, and economically depressed region. Its residents often live in close proximity to hazardous waste facilities, are forced to cope with water scarcity, and frequently live in food deserts, unable to access or afford much of the produce over which they have labored. The Central Valley is a complex region and defies all stereotypes one might know of California. Students will work to address the justice gap that disproportionately affects rural areas, working with low-income clients in a community not far from their own.


2. Eastern Kentucky

Partnering Organizations: Appalachian Research and Education Defense Fund (AppalReD) and Appalachian Citizens' Law Center

Lack of adequate legal representation is one of the many ill effects pervasive poverty has wrought on rural Appalachia. Participants in BLAST: Kentucky will travel to the region and engage in both direct legal services and legal research with two eastern Kentucky organizations dedicated to serving vulnerable populations. Areas of focus include black lung benefits claims, pro se divorce proceedings, health and welfare services, and environmental impact.


3. Mississippi

Partnering Organization: The Office of State Public Defender

BLAST: Mississippi students will contribute to the ongoing fight for criminal justice reform. In the state of Mississippi, students are given unique access to juvenile county court proceedings. Our students will capitalize on this access, traveling across the state to collect data regarding access to and quality of representation, as well as assessing for due process concerns, in juvenile proceedings. Upon return to Berkeley, students will analyze their findings and draft a critical report on the status of indigent juvenile defense, which is particularly important given the otherwise closed nature of juvenile court proceedings. This report will be used by local agencies in their ongoing policy reform efforts.


4. Los Angeles

Partnering Organizations: Inner City Law Center and Bet Tzedek

The homeless population of Los Angeles could fill a stadium and then some. Legal services agencies in Los Angeles are on the front lines of the fight to prevent homelessness, end homelessness, and mitigate the effects of homelessness on individual's lives. Eight students will spend the week participating in that fight, allowing their partnering organizations to reach more clients in need. Students will provide public benefits assistance to individuals currently assisting homelessness, as well as eviction defense and housing retention services to those at risk of homelessness.


5. South Texas

Partnering Organizations: South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Project (ProBAR) and CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project

Under the harsh policies of the current administration, providing direct legal services to detained immigrants is needed more than ever. Only 14% of those detained have access to counsel. Students on the South Texas trip will work to change that. We will split into two teams, working at detention centers near the U.S.-Mexico border. One team will assist at the South Texas Family Residential Center (STFRC) in Dilley, Texas, which is the largest immigrant family detention center in the country, while another team will assist at the Port Isabel Detention Center in Los Fresnos, Texas. This work has never been more important, as immigrants continue to live under the threat of ICE's expansion of power.  



BLAST will draw from a number of funding sources in order to keep the trip virtually free for all student participants. This will allow us to recruit a diverse group of students from various socioeconomic backgrounds, many of whom plan to pursue careers in public interest legal work, earning a fraction of what their legal peers in the private sector will earn, despite massive amounts of student loan debt. 


100% of your donations will go toward travel expenses, lodging, and meals. 


For more information, visit our website

Our way
of Thanking You


Digital Photo Album

Donate a minimum of $25 and get access to our digital photo album, which will be compiled at the end of each trip.

23 of 500 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: September 2018


Website: Bronze Level

Donate a minimum of $50 and have your name included as a recognized "bronze level" donor on our website (plus perks from previous levels).

43 of 250 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: October 2018


Handwritten Thank You Card

Donate a minimum of $100 and receive a handwritten, personalized thank you card from one of our trip participants (plus perks from previous levels).

23 of 250 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: October 2018


Website: Silver Level

Donate a minimum of $250 and have your name included as a recognized "silver level" donor on our website (plus perks from previous levels).

13 of 250 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: November 2018


Meet & Greet With a Student

Donate a minimum of $500 and meet a student participating in the trip of your choice, either in person or via Skype (plus perks from previous levels).

1 of 250 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: June 2019


Website: Gold Level

Donate a minimum of $750 and have your name included as a recognized "gold level" donor on our website (plus perks from previous levels).

0 of 250 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: October 2018


Website: Platinum Level

Donate a minimum of $1,000 and have your name included as a recognized "platinum level" donor on our website (plus perks from previous levels).

0 of 250 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: November 2018
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