Welcome to the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association
The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association (VLP) provides free civil legal assistance to low-income residents of Greater Boston, primarily through the pro bono services of private attorneys. With your help, VLP makes access to justice possible for people who cannot afford a lawyer. Find out about our volunteer opportunities for attorneys and law students.
Please join us. Your time is precious. Use it to make a difference.
It's a Matter of Interpretation
At any given time, VLP's clients may include speakers of 15 to 20 different languages. We are committed to providing high quality legal representation to all of our clients, regardless of the language they speak. And we are committed to providing competent interpreters so that you can effectively represent your pro bono clients who have limited English proficiency.
Here are some tips for working more effectively with an interpreter in your own practice or in pro bono cases:
5 SIMPLE TIPS FOR WORKING WITH AN INTERPRETER:
The interpreter interprets for the speaker. SPEAK SLOWLY so that the interpreter can interpret for you. English is best understood slowly, rather than loudly.
SPEAK DIRECTLY TO THE CLIENT. "I want to ask you some questions."
Make eye contact with the client. Spoken language is only a small portion of communication. Much can be learned from body language and context.
SPEAK SIMPLY and avoid legal jargon. Avoid using legal vocabulary and instead explain the meaning of a legal term. "On Monday, we have to go to Court and talk to the judge. The judge will decide how much child support you will get after the judge reads your financial statement."
Use the interpreter as you would a telephone. The interpreter interprets for you when you are speaking. Do not ask the interpreter to meet alone with the client to prepare any documents or to discuss the case. The interpreter is your intermediary to communicate with your client.
- Bankruptcy/Consumer Mentoring Group and Brown Bag Lunch , May 21
- Family Law Roundtable & Brown Bag Lunch - 4th Wednesday of the Month , May 22
- MCLE - First Annual Legal Services Conference , May 22
- Senior Partners for Justice Luncheon - Access to Justice Through Appellate Advocacy , May 28
- "Grand Rounds" in the Suffolk Probate and Family Court , May 29
- VLP - Orientation for New Volunteer Attorneys , Jun 3
- Bankruptcy/Consumer Mentoring Group and Brown Bag Lunch , Jun 4
- VLP - Introduction to Guardianship of Minors , Jun 6
- Guardianship Roundtable & Brown Bag Lunch - THIRD Wednesday of the Month , Jun 19
- Family Law Roundtable & Brown Bag Lunch - 4th Wednesday of the Month , Jun 27
- View more
Sign Up for Trainings and Court Projects Online
Go to Volunteerhub to sign up online for VLP trainings and to volunteer for lawyer for the day and other court-based projects.
Report of the LSC Pro Bono Task Force
In October 2012, the Pro Bono Task Force of the Legal Services Corporation issued a report with recommendations for effectively increasing pro bono participation by lawyers. You can read the report here.