Legal Services Vermont’s Pro Bono Program Opportunities

Vermont attorneys, sign up to be a volunteer for our Pro Bono Program opportunities! Make a difference in someone’s life. If you are an attorney, we need your help now! Below you will find more information about volunteer opportunities.

Are you looking for legal help? Find out how to reach us.

About Our Pro Bono Opportunities

Legal Services Vermont’s Pro Bono Program is a comprehensive, statewide project to connect our volunteer lawyers with Vermonters in need. As volunteers, each attorney is asked to give some time to help low-income Vermonters, but they give much more. Volunteers give dignity by reaching out and lending a helping hand; they give power to those in fear who face poverty every day; and they give hope where despair is the only reality.

Since the pandemic began, our call volume has increased from approximately 1,000 calls to 2,000 calls per month. Providing assistance to the growing number of pro se litigants is a challenging task. Our pro bono program is integral to our goal of equal access to justice. This is why your help is so desperately needed!

How to Sign Up 

Any interested advocate should first fill out our Volunteer Inquiry Form. After that, you may follow up with Bradley Showman at volunteer@lawlinevt.orgto express interest in a specific project. Otherwise, one of our advocates will be in touch with you shortly after you fill out the Volunteer Inquiry Form.

Interested advocates can sign up to work on clinics, be part of our pro bono panel, or take cases in a specific area of law.

Clinic-Based Pro Bono Opportunities

Rent Escrow Clinics

Logo of YouTube

Watch our Rent Escrow Refresher - VERAP Intro Training for attorneys held on July 27, 2021.

 

Legal Services Vermont hosts clinics in several counties to assist unrepresented tenants at rent escrow hearings. You can volunteer at a clinic in the following counties: Addison, Chittenden, Washington and Rutland. This is a great volunteer opportunity to have an immediate impact on an important issue and help prevent homelessness. Below is a schedule of upcoming clinics:

  • Addison County: Tuesday, January 11
  • Chittenden County: Tuesday, December 14
  • Rutland County: Wednesdays, December 15, and December 29
  • Washington County: Mondays, December 13, and December 27

If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out our volunteer inquiry form and contact Bradley Showman, Pro Bono Coordinator, at volunteer@lawlinevt.org for training information and scheduling. And if you have not already, check out our Rent Escrow Refresher CLE for free on our YouTube page.

Individual Case Pro Bono Opportunities

Individual Case Referrals

Clients are interviewed to determine what legal issues need to be addressed. Then, we will send periodic emails to attorneys who indicate an interest and expertise in advising on that area of law. Your name and phone number are given to the client only after you have talked to Legal Services Vermont staff and agree to accept the referral.

Bankruptcy Referral List

Legal Services Vermont receives dozens of calls each week from low-income Vermonters with debt hanging over their heads. They call seeking help with a bankruptcy. Often, they have heard from friends that a bankruptcy can solve all their money problems. Since nothing is quite that simple, Legal Services Vermont staff attorneys and paralegals counsel individuals on the law regarding debt collection practices and their rights and responsibilities as debtors. People often want the relief that a bankruptcy can provide. They may not have a full-time job, they may have no attachable property, and they may face steep challenges to keep a roof over their heads and their families fed. These individuals need an attorney to represent them in a simple chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy. We want to be able to refer debtors to attorneys who can help them with bankruptcy for a price that people can afford.

If you would like your name on our referral list, please contact Bradley Showman, Pro Bono Coordinator, at 802-383-2215 or volunteer@lawlinevt.org. We send this list out to clients so they may hire an attorney to help them with their bankruptcy at a reduced fee.

Social Security Referral List

Legal Services Vermont maintains a list of attorneys who take initial denials for Social Security disability-based benefits cases. Callers are screened for low-income eligibility, but otherwise are left to contact attorneys on the referral list directly.

Other Pro Bono Opportunities

Become a Mentor Attorney Through Legal Services Vermont 

Becoming a Mentor Attorney is an opportunity for you to help a new attorney or an experienced attorney learn a new area of the law. This allows you to get pro bono credit for teaching what you already know. It helps the project because you are sharing your expertise and helping Legal Services Vermont increase its volunteer panel.

Be a Trainer on a LSV CLE Event 

This is another way for you to get pro bono credit and help the project recruit new attorneys. Do you have a special interest in a unique pro bono idea or project? Bradley Showman, Pro Bono Coordinator, will meet with you to discuss what you would like to do to help either on an individual or group basis.

Summer and School-Year Law Student Internships

Legal Services Vermont has a robust internship program that matches interested students with a staff attorney to work on a variety of legal matters. To find out more, check back here soon or contact volunteer@lawlinevt.org.

What Volunteer Lawyers Get 

Pre-Screened Cases and Clinic-Based Opportunities

Legal Services Vermont staff determines financial eligibility for each client before being referred for pro bono service. Clients are interviewed to determine what legal issues need to be addressed. Your name and phone number are given to the client only after you have talked to Legal Services Vermont staff and agree to accept the referral.

Reimbursement of Expenses 

Legal Services Vermont will reimburse you for any out-of-pocket expenses from the case such as: long distance phone calls, copying costs, filing fees and mileage. In some cases, other types of expenses can be reimbursed, however you must get pre-approval from the project.

Access To National Law Centers 

As a pro bono attorney with us, you receive discounts on valuable materials and events from the National Law Centers. Today our volunteers can access special discounts from the National Consumer Law Center. If you are interested in learning more, please contact the Bradley Showman, Pro Bono Coordinator, at volunteer@lawlinevt.org.

Training Events

Volunteers are eligible to receive low-cost or free CLE training. Topics for events include, but are not limited to: foreclosure, eviction defense, public benefits, senior citizen issues and mentoring for new attorneys.