The Yale Undergraduate Legal Aid Association (YULAA) was founded in the summer of 2016 by Yasmin Eriksson ‘19 and Allison Miller ‘19. The two had originally been involved with the Yale Human Rights Undergraduate Action Delegation, but decided that a change in structure, organization, and purpose was necessary. Allie and Yasmin decided that the new organization should not only promote human rights through on-campus advocacy, since many other student-led organizations already serve that purpose. Rather, the organization should connect dedicated, capable Yale students to legal service organizations for mutually beneficial volunteering opportunities.
We are a Dwight Hall member organization dedicated to social justice and the proud winner of the title of Dwight Hall Member Group of the 2017-2018 Academic Year. In our current form as YULAA, we provide an outlet to hundreds of service-minded Yale students who are interested in engaging with the legal system as undergraduate before they pursue advanced degrees or enter the workforce. Our diverse local service opportunities allow for students to work on issues that interest them, whether that be immigration, police accountability, or re-entry of formerly incarcerated individuals. Currently, we have roughly 150 Yale students actively volunteering on project sites.
Our goal is also to serve as an important resource for the New Haven community. Legal service organizations are often understaffed for the amount of work they have. YULAA volunteers do actual legal work, whether that be translating legal documents, writing affidavits for asylum-seekers, or assisting with pardon applications.