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Boston VLP

Why Pro Bono?

There are many reasons lawyers give their time to represent low-income clients on a pro bono basis. The need for pro bono legal assistance is enormous - an estimated 80% of low-income people have unmet civil legal needs. The Rules of Professional Conduct tell us we should do pro bono. The Courts support pro bono as a way to expand access to justice for those in need and mitigate the impact on the court system of increasing numbers of pro se litigants. But, for many attorneys, the most compelling reason is the personal and professional satisfaction they get from pro bono work.

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Why VLP?

High Quality Referrals
VLP staff attorneys and paralegals carefully screen cases prior to referral to pro bono panel members. With each case referred, panel attorneys receive a detailed memo summarizing the case and identifying the presenting issues. VLP also assesses the complexity of cases of case so that simpler cases are referred to less experienced attorneys and more challenging cases go to more seasoned practitioners.
Read more about VLP's case referral process.

Training at VLP
VLP staff attorneys and paralegals design and present training programs to panel members. Regularly offered trainings include: the fundamentals of Landlord/Tenant Law, Family Law 101 and 102, Guardianship of Minors, and Unemployment Law. From time to time, special programs are also offered such as handling complex custody cases, Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcies, and bringing affirmative conditions cases for tenants. See our Current Training Schedule.

Discount Vouchers for CLE Courses
VLP has a limited number of discount vouchers for Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) and Boston Bar Association continuing legal education courses that we make available to active volunteers. These vouchers allow admission to any half or full-day program for $25.00. Read more about our training voucher policy.
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Mentoring and Other Learning Opportunities
VLP provides ongoing mentoring to pro bono panel members through VLP's staff attorneys and through experienced volunteer attorneys who have expertise in family law, landlord-tenant law, guardianship, bankruptcy, consumer law, employment, foreclosure, and other areas we handle. In addition to traditional mentoring, VLP offers the following resources to active volunteers:
  • Listservs in landlord-tenant, family law, guardianship, bankruptcy/consumer, and unemployment insurance. You must be registered and logged in to this website to join a listserv.
  • Monthly lunch-time roundtable discussions in family law, guardianship and bankruptcy/consumer. See home page for upcoming dates.
  • Grand Rounds - a guided tour and observation session - in the Probate and Family Court every other month. See home page for upcoming dates.
  • Library of legal resources and practice materials law materials including sample briefs and pleadings.
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Professional Liability Insurance
VLP provides primary professional liability insurance coverage for panel attorneys handling cases referred through VLP. Primary coverage ensures that panel members do not have to rely on their own malpractice coverage when handling VLP cases.
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Office Space
For volunteer attorneys who do not have easily accessible offices, VLP provides interview rooms for meetings with VLP clients and a conference room for depositions or negotiation sessions involving VLP referred cases.
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Interpreters
A significant number of VLP clients do not use English as their primary language. To facilitate the lawyer-client relationship in these cases, VLP has developed a streamlined system for assigning interpreters to cases.
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Career Exploration
Would you like to explore exciting career options that fit with your personal interests and passions? VLP is now offering members of the pro bono panel a new benefit. Senior Partner for Justice member Peter Marx is available to provide in person or phone career counseling. The goal is to help you step back and assess where you are and find ways to enhance your career.

With help from an experienced practitioner, you can review different aspects of your work history,education, life experiences and anything else that might help you find the right legal career path. Peter brings the perspective of a varied career that has included SEC staff attorney, law firm partner, general counsel, solo practitioner, Washington lobbyist, venture capitalist and entrepreneur. To schedule an appointment, send an e-mail to pmarx@legalinsight.com. Please note, the focus of this benefit is career exploration not generating job leads.
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What our volunteer attorneys say about their pro bono experiences with VLP:


 

"Serving VLP helps the client, but I also believe that it helps the lawyer's soul."

"I learned so much from my client. I used to think poverty was just not having money. It is so much more than that."

"My sense of fulfillment as a professional has been really enhanced by doing pro bono work."

"It certainly is rewarding at the end of the day to know you've helped someone."

"I was able to use my legal skills to make a small, but positive, impact on another person's life. Thank you for this opportunity!"

"I learn so much about how the law works doing these cases."

"This has been my most satisfying experience as an attorney."

Whatever your reasons for doing this work, you will be joining a very dedicated and talented group of colleagues, and VLP will be there to support you.

Find Out More About Our Volunteer Opportunities

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