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.
We Need You for New Pro Bono Projects!
Small Claims Clinics at BMC Central
Approximately 75% of all small claims cases in Massachusetts are brought by debt collectors seeking to enforce debts against consumers. Nearly all of these consumers appear for trial without counsel. However these cases often have significant defenses, of which these consumers are unaware or unable to effectively argue.
The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association (VLP) has established a new law clinics at the Boston Municipal Court small claims sessions to provide free legal representation for consumer debtors. VLP is looking for volunteers at all levels of experience to assist at these clinics. Law students are also encouraged to attend. The clinic meets every week at 1PM on the 5th Floor in Courtroom D at the Brooke Courthouse on 24 New Chardon Street, Boston.
*VLP also runs small claims clinics in Quincy District Court on the first Tuesday of the month and Cambridge District Court every Thursday at 8:45AM. Contact Hsindy Chen or Emily Jarrell for more information or to sign up for a particular day.
Fresh Start Debt Relief Clinics
Over the past year, VLP has been developing Fresh Start clinics to inform people in debt about their options and assist them with bankruptcy where appropriate. These clinics need volunteers: lawyers to give a short presentation about debt relief and advise clients in one-on-one sessions; and law students and paralegals to help clients complete a bankruptcy questionnaire and get credit reports and other documents. You can provide invaluable help to people in need by volunteering a few hours of your time once a month at a clinic. Clinics are held on the 3rd Tuesday of every month, with the location alternating monthly between DotHouse Health Clinic in Dorchester and the VLP office in Boston. For more information, contact VLP staff attorney Emily Jarrell. To sign up to help with a clinic contact George-Marie Jasmin.
VLP's ERLI Helpline is Up and Running. Pro Bono Help Needed for Advice Panels.
On October 1st, VLP began operation of a Helpline to provide callers with information and referrals, screen clients for legal aid eligibility, and conduct intakes in legal aid priority cases. The new service is called ERLI (Eastern Region Legal Intake). Where appropriate, callers will be scheduled for 30 minute telephone legal advice sessions with experienced pro bono attorneys. Clients will be referred for advice only and will be told that full representation is not available for their cases. If you are an attorney with experience in family law, housing, employment, or probate, we need your expertise for our advice panels. Advice sessions can be scheduled at a time that's convenient for you. For more information, contact VLP's Director of Intake, Advice and Referral, Attorney Stephen Russo.
Volunteer Honor Roll
Click here to see the honor roll for October through February. Thank you the attorneys who volunteered to take pro bono cases, assist clients at clinics and lawyer of the day projects, mentor other lawyers, and review guardianship reports. We appreciate you!
- Pro Bono Training: Representing Debtors in Small Claims Court, Feb 28
- VLP - Landlord-Tenant Law 101, Mar 14
- VLP - Orientation for New Volunteer Attorneys, Apr 3
- VLP - Landlord-Tenant Law 101, Apr 11
- VLP - Landlord-Tenant Law 101, May 9
- VLP - Orientation for New Volunteer Attorneys, Jun 5
- VLP - Landlord-Tenant Law 101, Jun 13
You can find pro bono opportunities throughout Massachusetts at massprobono.org.