How VLP Case Referrals Work
Finding the Right Cases for You
Once you join VLP's pro bono panel, you will be able to view summaries of all the cases available for referral on this website. VLP also maintains e-mail lists for the different types of cases we handle. If you are interested in a particular area, you can join that e-mail list to receive periodic updates with descriptions of available cases. If you are interested in taking a case in an area of law that is new to you, you can sign up to attend a free training at VLP and we can give you a mentor for your case. For information about available pro bono cases, please contact Referral Coordinator Adrian Coss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting the File and Case Memo
For all of the pro bono cases that we assign, a VLP staff attorney or paralegal has met with the client for an intake and prepared a file and a detailed memo about the case. Once you agree to take a case, we will send you the memo and the documents in the file. We will also confirm the referral in writing with the client, who will then call to schedule an appointment with you..
Meeting the Client
You may meet with clients at your own office or at VLP. We have conference space available at VLP if you would prefer to meet with your client here. To reserve a room, call VLP reception at 617-423-0648 x6487. Please provide the receptionist with your name, the client's name the room size needed, the date and time of the appointment, the approximate length of time required, and a number at which you can be reached should a problem arise.
For clients with limited English proficiency, VLP retains interpreters to assist you outside of Court, including attorney-client meetings and telephone calls. We assign interpreters to cases before they are referred. Both the client and the attorney are given the name and contact information for the interpreter at the time the case is referred. That interpreter will be available to the client and attorney for the duration of the case to relay information, set up meetings, provide interpreting services for phone calls and meetings between the client and attorney, and to accompany you to a hearing for pre- and post-hearing client discussions. Interpreters bill VLP directly. The panel attorney simply needs to sign the interpreter's time sheet to verify the interpreter's time spent on that case.
Courts and administrative agencies are obligated to provide interpreters without cost for legal proceedings. Please arrange for an interpreter with the specific Court or agency.
Ongoing Support and Mentoring
Mentors. VLP staff attorneys are available to consult with you on your pro bono cases. We can also pair you with an experienced panel attorney for mentoring. To request a mentor or if you are interested in serving as a mentor, please contact Senior Partners for Justice Manager Barbara Siegel at email@example.com.
Email Groups: We have email discussion groups or listservs available in many subject areas. They are a good way to get advice and sample practice materials about your pro bono cases from other attorneys. Click here to sign up for one of our listservs. You must be registered and logged in to this website to join a listserv.
Fees and Costs
Whenever possible, attorneys should file an Affidavit of Indigency for the client to get filing fees and court costs waived or paid for by the Commonwealth. Click here for forms and more information about the Affidavit of Indigency. VLP has limited funds to assist with litigation costs that are not otherwise covered. Please contact Program Administrator Martha Williams to discuss your particular situation or needs.
Some routine costs are inherent in legal representation, e.g. copying, stationery, postage, etc. that may be burdensome for solo or small office practitioners. Panel attorneys may use the copier and postage meter in VLP's office. VLP is unable to reimburse attorneys for mileage or parking.
VLP will check in with both you and the client periodically during the course of the case to ensure that you made contact, that the matter is progressing satisfactorily, and that you are getting any support you might need. At case closure VLP will send a form to you requesting basic information about the case disposition.