VOLS Unemployment Insurance Advocacy Project Training

  • Public Benefits

The Volunteers of Legal Service (VOLS) Unemployment Insurance Advocacy Project recruits and trains volunteer attorneys to represent individuals denied unemployment insurance benefits in administrative hearings before the New York State Department of Labor. Volunteer attorneys interview clients, review documents, develop a case theory, conduct direct and cross-examinations, and make closing arguments before an administrative law judge. Volunteers of Legal Service provides support and advice for volunteers as they prepare their case. On average, preparation for a case involves between 15-20 hours, and the time frame for a case from its inception to termination is about three to six weeks. The hearings are held in New York City.

This project provides an opportunity to relieve some of the suffering being experienced by New York's working poor at a time of great need. Project participants will assist individuals who find themselves jobless through no fault of their own. For the many individuals and families living from paycheck to paycheck, unemployment insurance benefits are a vital source of emergency income while they look for new employment. Over 90% of claimants are unrepresented in these hearings. Unrepresented claimants stand only a 28% chance of prevailing in their cases, but with representation through this project that success rate more than doubles.

Pre-registration is required. Email Dave Fillingame, Project Director, at dfillingame@volsprobono.org.

Lunch will be provided.