Resources for Attorneys
Rules of Professional Conduct
Beginning in August, the VSB will host a portal to the ABA’s online pro bono website that allows low-income Virginians to ask legal questions in a private forum and have the questions answered by volunteer Virginia lawyers.
Lawyers: Register for the service by filling out this attorney interest form (PDF file). Send completed form to Karl A. Doss, Director, VSB Access to Legal Services, firstname.lastname@example.org. More information to come.
- Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award Information — See 2015 recipient
- Virginia Legal Aid Award Information — See 2016 recipient
- Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award Information — See 2016 recipient
Pro Bono Training and Events Calendar
Please register for Making the Case for Pro Bono: The Justice Gap, Rule 6.1, and Virginia's New Online Pro Bono Website on May 24, 2016 1:00 PM EDT at:
Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Responsibility says that every lawyer regardless of professional prominence or workload should provide pro bono legal assistance. Unfortunately, Virginia lawyers are falling well short of this aspirational goal. Moreover, studies consistently show that 80% of the legal needs of the poor both nationally and in Virginia are not being met.
During this webinar, which is co-sponsored by the Virginia State Bar Access to Legal Services Committee and the Old Dominion Bar Association, attendees will receive information about the justice gap in Virginia, what the ethical rules have to say about pro bono, why pro bono makes good sense professionally, and where to find pro bono opportunities throughout Virginia — including the Virginia.freelegalanswers.org website starting this Fall.
This webinar has been approved for 1.5 hours of MCLE ethics credit. There is no registration fee to attend but registrants will be asked to certify that they will register for the online pro bono website, accept a pro bono referral from a legal services organization, or make a financial donation to a legal aid office.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
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From the October 2014 issue of Virginia Lawyer (PDF files):
- Improving Access to Justice and Pro Bono Services in Virginia
by Cynthia D. Kinser, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia
- We Can Be Heroes
by Justina Uram-Mubangu
- Rethinking Access to Justice
by James J. Sandman
- Access to Justice Commission Homes In on Specifics
- Legal Aid Programs Produce Results That Touch Everyone in Virginia
by Mark D. Braley
- The Impact of the Justice Gap on Litigants: Are We Providing a Level Playing Field?
by John E. Whitfield
- Getting a Pro Bono Case
- Pro Bono Assistance Sought for Clients Struggling to Pay Court Debt
by Carolyn Kalantari and Richard DeMeglio
- Lawyering for a Cause: Do Good and Feel Great
by Crista Whitman Gantz
- Pro Bono Challenges: Time, Distance, Money, Culture
- Advocates for Cancer Patients, Founders of Pro Bono Referral Program Recognized for Service
Webinars Spread the Word on Pro Bono article from the August 2014 issue of Virginia Lawyer (PDF file)
Is there a Pro Bono Gap in Virginia? article from the February 2014 issue of Virginia Lawyer (PDF file)
Resources — How/Where to Get Cases/Volunteer Opportunities
more to come
Top Pro Bono Needs in Virginia (PDF file)
Legal Aid Pro Bono Brochure (PDF file)
Legal Aid Pro Bono Opportunities. All of Virginia’s legal aid offices have well-established private attorney involvement programs with pro bono coordinators who will help support your volunteer lawyering work. Please contact your local legal aid office for more information.
- Blue Ridge Legal Services – (540) 433-1830 (main office in Harrisonburg, offices in Winchester, Lexington, and Roanoke)
- Central Virginia Legal Aid Society – (804) 200-6049 (main office in Richmond, offices in Petersburg, and Charlottesville)
- Legal Aid Justice Center – (434) 977-0553 (main office in Charlottesville, offices in Richmond, Petersburg, and Falls Church)
- Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia – (757) 627-5423 (main office in Norfolk, offices in Hampton, Virginia Beach, Belle Haven, and Williamsburg)
- Legal Aid Society of Roanoke Valley – (540) 344-2088 (Roanoke)
- Legal Services of Northern Virginia – (703) 778-6800 (main office in Falls Church, offices in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Leesburg, and Manassas)
- Rappahannock Legal Services – (540) 371-1105 (main offices in Fredericksburg, offices in Culpeper, and Tappahannock)
- Southwest Virginia Legal Aid – (276) 783-6576 (main office in Marion, offices in Castlewood and Christiansburg)
- Virginia Legal Aid Society – (434) 528-4722 (main office in Lynchburg, offices in Danville, Farmville, and Suffolk)
The Greater Richmond Bar Foundation (GRBF). GRBF’s mission is to expand public access to the justice system in central Virginia by facilitating the delivery of pro bono legal services and service projects. Through its programs, GRBF helps the Central Virginia region with its priority needs for pro bono services and helps connect lawyers with pro bono clients. (804) 780-2600
- Pro Bono Clearinghouse – a referral service linking volunteer attorneys with nonprofit organizations in need of legal representation on a variety of transactional matters.
- Pro Bono Promise – law firms and law departments are invited to join Pro Bono Promise with a pledge to commit a percentage of time to the provision of pro bono legal services to the disadvantaged and/or to include financial support to legal services organizations annually.
- JusticeServer – an all-inclusive case management and referral system that enables private attorneys to accept and work on pro bono cases from their own computers. Attorneys are able to create a confidential profile, view pro bono opportunities available in designated practice areas/jurisdictions, and find the resources to assist with handling the legal matter.
- Other Volunteer Opportunities – GRBF also provides a menu of volunteer opportunities available in the greater Richmond area.
Probono.net/va contains resources for pro bono and legal services lawyers to assist in their representation of low income or disadvantaged clients, including the Pro Bono Opportunities Guide, which allows volunteer lawyers to find legal opportunites tailored to their specific requirements.
St. Anthony Legal Clinic, Falls Church, VA – The St. Anthony Legal Clinic is an informal group of volunteers operating under the auspices of St. Anthony Catholic Church, 3301 Glen Carlyn Rd. in Falls Church. The clinic operates on Saturday mornings from 9:00 to 11:00 AM, working out of the church office and using the church conference rooms. This is a walk-in clinic, no appointments, and completely free. While no screening is done for income, it is apparent that most clients are poor and cannot afford a lawyer at normal rates. Many of the clients are Hispanic/Latino, and the clinic is staffed with interpreters for non-Spanish speaking lawyers. The majority of clients have problems relating to immigration and family law/divorce. Other issues that arise include landlord-tenant issues, criminal actions, DMV problems and employment issues. Attorneys are expected to provide advice and guidance, and limited follow-up if needed, but not to represent clients in court. The clinic maintains a list of referral agencies that can provide more long-term representation. For more information, contact Norman Hicks, (703) 203-4484.
Virginia Bar Association Veterans Issues Task Force. The VBA provides military veterans and service members with greater access to legal assistance. Volunteer assistance opportunities include: initial intake interviews, one-on-one counsel, speaking at Yellow Ribbon or similar events, mentoring other attorneys, providing pro bono or low-cost assistance, and supervising law students in legal clinics assisting veterans.
Hogar Immigrant Services (703) 534-9805 or (571) 208-1572. Hogar Immigrant Services’ mission is to welcome the stranger by offering immigration legal assistance at a reduced rate to those who could not afford it otherwise. Hogar also hosts Naturalization Workshops every month. At each workshop, members of the Hogar Legal team, as well as trained attorney and non-attorney volunteers, are on hand to assist eligible legal permanent residents (LPRs) in completing naturalization applications. Please contact email@example.com or call 571-208-1572 x102 for further information.
Just Neighbors (703) 979-1240. Just Neighbors provides immigration legal services to low income immigrants in the northern Virginia area. Clients must make 200% or less of federal poverty guidelines and must live in northern Virginia to qualify for services. Just Neighbors has a special emphasis on humanitarian-based immigration cases and does not take: removal/deportation cases, asylum cases, family-based petitions. Clients interested in our services can be screened by calling 703-979-1240, Tuesday - Friday 9 am - 5 pm. If you are an attorney interested in volunteering with Just Neighbors, please call our main number and ask to speak with the Director of Legal Services.
The mission of the Virginia State Bar Special Committee on Access to Legal Services Committee includes “fostering support for free and reduced fee legal services with the goal of improving access to the legal system for all Virginians and for nonprofit charitable and civic groups that serve the public good. It promotes pro bono publico services by Virginia lawyers…The committee continually examines ways in which access to legal services can be enhanced and opportunities for pro bono service can be expanded in a fashion that supports and complements the rich regional network of existing service providers.“
The Access Committee offers free, nuts and bolts training on substantive law and ethics for attorneys interested in providing pro bono publico legal services to economically disadvantaged Virginians. As the VSB's kickoff event for the National Pro Bono Celebration in October, this program will focus on the ethical rules and opinions for pro bono attorneys as well as provide information about the need and opportunities for pro bono service throughout Virginia.
Topics and presenters include:
- The Justice Gap in Virginia and Rule 6.1 – John Whitfield, Executive Director, Blue Ridge Legal Services
- Other Ethical Rules and Opinions of Particular Relevance to Pro Bono Lawyers – Seth Guggenheim, Assistant Ethics Counsel, Virginia State Bar
- Pro Bono Service by Solo and Small Firm Practitioners – Jennifer Grace Dean, Virginia Immigration Law Center
- How and Where to Get Pro Bono Cases – Tara Casey, Director, Harry L. Carrico Center for Pro Bono Service, University of Richmond School of Law
Presenter - Nathan Kottkamp, McGuireWoods, LLP and chair of the National Healthcare Decisions Day Initiative.
All adults in Virginia have a right to prepare an Advance Medical Directive, which expresses their wishes in writing about future medical care if they become incapacitated, including the type of healthcare they do or do not want and/or the authorization of another person to make medical decisions on their behalf. An advance directive is a very important document because it provides critical information to medical personnel about a patient’s treatment wishes, alleviating some of the stress for family members.
Pro bono attorneys are especially needed to assist low income clients execute these documents.
Court Appointed Attorney Application and VIDC Standards of Practice