Pro Bono Opportunities for Non-Lawyers
The following organizations have pro bono opportunities for volunteers who are not attorneys.
1. Archdiocesan Legal Network for Catholic Charities (ALN)
James Bishop, ALN Director
1221 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
Non-lawyers are needed to assist ALN with telephone intake on Mondays through Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Spanish-speaking volunteers are needed on Fridays from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
2. Bread for the City
Elizabeth Campbell, Legal Clinic Director
1525 7th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
On legal issues, non-lawyers may assist with case development in landlord-tenant and family law cases. The Clinic is open in the evenings and on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00p.m. On non-legal issues, volunteers are needed to assist with clothing and/or food distribution (Bread for the City and Zacchaeus Free Clinic provides a 3-day supply of food to more than 3,000 families per month) or in the medical clinic.
3. Covenant House Washington, Division of Legal Services (CHW)
Evita Smedley, Director of Legal Services
1015 15th Street, N.W., Lower Level, #2, or
CHW Community Service Center
3400 Martin Luther King, Jr., Ave., S.E.
CHW provides essential services, such as shelter, food, and counseling, to homeless, runaway, abused and neglected children. CHW would welcome assistance with the monthly workshops it provides to youth regarding violence and crime, housing, custody, child care, the legislative process, legal drafting, and other issues involving legal rights and responsibilities, as well as other activities for their children-clients that do not involve the practice of law.
4. D.C. Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC)
Emma Hambright, Advocacy Specialist
900 Varnum St., N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20017
Volunteers are needed to serve as mentors to individuals with mental retardation. D.C. ARC also needs assistance with committee work for the organization. For example, volunteers who wish to serve on the Public Information Committee can assist the organization with increasing public awareness. Committee meetings take place after work hours. Finally, volunteers are needed to assist with work at D.C. ARC's group homes (painting, landscaping, etc.)
5. D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program
Margaret Duval, Staff Attorney (x297)
Valerie Despres, Family Law Attorney (x295)
(for Pro-Se-Plus Divorce Clinic and Family Court Self-Help Pilot Project only)
1250 H Street, N.W., Sixth Floor
Washington, D.C. 20005
Non-lawyers are needed to assist with case screening at the Advice & Referral Clinic held the second Saturday of every month. The clinic has two locations: the Max Robinson Center, 2301 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, and Bread for the City, 1525 7th Street NW. Non-lawyers also can participate in the DC Bar Pro Bono Program's Pro-Se-Plus Divorce Clinic. The Clinics are held at the D.C. Superior Court on specified Thursdays from 6-8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. - noon. All volunteers must go through a training offered by the DC Bar Pro Bono Program. Volunteers provide training and assistance to unrepresented litigants in divorce cases. They help pro se litigants fill out forms and answer questions, and provide presentations on procedures for divorce cases. Non-lawyers are also needed for the Family Court Self-Help Pilot Project. Volunteers assist pro se litigants in Family Court with court procedures and paperwork. The Project takes place at DC Superior Court on Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 4 p.m. All volunteers must complete a three-hour training.
6. Lawyers for Children America (LFCA)
Danielle Chappell or Keely Magyar, Program Directors
2000 K Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
LFCA encourages lawyers to include paralegals in our work on abuse and neglect cases. Paralegals are given responsibility for collecting medical and educational records, visiting with child clients, conducting legal research, and helping with case preparation. We invite paralegals to attend our training sessions and brown bag sessions.
7. Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia (LAS)
Viriginie Ladisch, Pro Bono Program Coordinator
666 11th Street, N.W., Suite 800
Washington, D.C. 20001
LAS maintains a registry of non-lawyers who would be willing to help during "crunch" times with activities such as filing documents at D.C. Superior Court, effectuating service of process on witnesses or opposing parties, translating documents into Spanish, or performing routine office work.
8. Legal Counsel for the Elderly (LCE)
Shirley Williams, Volunteer Coordinator
601 E Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20049
LCE staff members need assistance interviewing clients, drafting letters and performing legal research. Client interviews take place Mondays through Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Legal research and other work could be performed after hours. We also welcome retired or part-time employees who could donate one day per week to volunteering at our office.
9. Legal Services of Northern Virginia (LSNV)
Karen Zeineddin, LSNV Pro Bono Coordinator (703-246-4521)
Eric Moe, Pro Bono Assistant (703-538-3954)
6400 Arlington Boulevard, Suite 600
Falls Church, VA 22042
The Law Center for Children Project (TLC) advocates for young people in the areas of health, child welfare, disabilities, education and custody. TLC=s pro bono panel welcomes paralegals to provide assistance with community education and outreach, legal research and direct representation.
The Paralegal Advocacy Volunteers for the Elderly (PAVE) program is seeking new volunteer paralegals for its monthly Saturday legal aid clinics (10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.) assisting low income elderly residents in Northern Virginia. Volunteers are trained to help in four major areas: public benefits, consumer issues, medical bill/insurance problems, and preparation of legal documents, such as a living will, powers of attorney and simple wills. Call Sandi Beckley, PAVE Coordinator, at 703-532-3927, about training opportunities.
Paralegals also are sought to assist with the Uncontested Divorce Clinic (held on the fourth Saturday of each month), which provides legal services to individuals seeking uncontested divorces in Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington.
10. Montgomery County Bar Foundation Pro Bono Program
Shelly Barber, Volunteer Coordinator
27 West Jefferson St., Rockville, MD
The Bar Foundation refers low-income Montgomery County residents to volunteer attorneys who handle civil matters free of charge. It operates advice clinics in the county and a pro se project in the Circuit Court. Volunteers are needed to assist with individual cases or to work in the Bar Foundation=s clinics.
11. Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Division (alternative dispute resolution)
Kitty Huggins, Intake Supervisor
D.C. Superior Court
500 Indiana Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
Non-lawyers may be mediators in the Family and Small Claims Mediation program. The Family Mediation Program provides mediation to people who have disputes regarding family matters, such as child support, custody, visitation, and other divorce issues. The program provides citizens with an alternate method of resolving family disputes with emphasis on the best interests of the child, empowerment of the parties and facilitating communication between the parties. Small claims disputes typically involve consumer and service provider complaints with claims for monetary compensation of $5,000 or less. Small claims mediators also mediate certain types of collection matters with claims up to $25,000. Additional information is available from the Pro Bono Program Manager. The MDRD's selection process, however, is quite competitive.
12. Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless (WLCFH)
Genesis Fisher, Coordinator of Volunteers
1800 Massachusetts Ave., N.W, 6th Floor.
Washington, D.C. 20036
Non-lawyers may volunteer with an attorney to work on cases. Additionally, non-lawyers may be paired with attorneys to work at intake sites at soup kitchens or homeless shelters. Intake sites are open in the early mornings, during lunchtime and in the evenings.
13. Women Empowered Against Violence, Inc. (WEAVE)
Verlette Simon, Director of Administration, Volunteer Coordinator
910 17th Street, N.W., Suite 215
Washington, D.C. 20006
WEAVE has opportunities for non-lawyer volunteers to provide a number of meaningful and helpful tasks such as mentoring our clients, providing translation services (primarily Spanish and Portugese), and giving administrative support. The assistance of paralegals is sought to perform legal research and assist with case preparation.
14. Whitman-Walker Clinic
Kristina Easton, Volunteer Coordinators
1407 S Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009
*Note: WWC also has offices in Arlington for which they need volunteers.
WWC has numerous service departments that sponsor activities ranging from peer counseling, foodbanks, public education, a "Buddies" program, special events, hotlines, bulk mailings and benefits assistance. Non-lawyers are welcome to volunteer in any of these programs, but are required to attend a two-stage training process. The first stage is a general orientation to learn about current volunteer opportunities. The second stage is a two-day weekend training. Depending on the volunteer position chosen, one may also you need to attend a specialized workshop. Call for information about the next scheduled training sessions. Interested volunteers should call WWC for a volunteer application.