#10: You make all the decisions about your commitment to the Volunteer Lawyers Program
You decide which type of cases you are willing to take, how many cases you are willing to take in any given time period, and when to take them. You may also elect to volunteer your services as a consultant to LSEM staff or to do outreach intake at one of the various intake sites in the community.
#9: A chance to do something different
If you are tired of the same old routine, a VLP Pro Bono case can offer you an opportunity to do something different. Tired of drafting documents? Represent a disabled client in a Social Security hearing. Been working on that document production for weeks? How about a landlord tenant hearing for a change of pace? LSEM staff can always offer you guidance to help you through a type of case you’ve never handled before.
#8: You have to get out of the office once in a while
If you are stuck in your office most of the time except for when you get out at noon to get that same old turkey sandwich, a trip to the courthouse, administrative agency or an outreach intake site may be just the change of pace you need. It’s better for you than a walk at Shaw’s Garden, we promise. Well, okay, maybe not better but at least you know you are helping someone who really needs your assistance.
#7: If you are retired, LSEM is a place where you are really wanted!
Every year, our clients benefit from the experience and expertise of retired, in-house volunteer attorneys. If you want to continue to put your accumulated skills and expertise to good use, this is the place for you.
#6: If you are studying for a bar exam or conducting a job search, LSEM is the place for you!
Each year, our clients also benefit from the enthusiasm of law grads, newly relocated lawyers and lawyers seeking to re-enter the job market. If you want to gain valuable experience during a transitional phase in life, we would love to have you.
#5: Two words: Court Experience!
VLP cases offer an opportunity for even brand new lawyers to get into the courtroom and to get valuable experience appearing before judges. And where to stand. And where to sit. And where the file room is. And to get to know the clerks (the most important thing of all!).
#4: Free CLE credits
LSEM and the VLP offer free CLE seminars to volunteer attorneys on a wide variety of topics. Learn how to handle the types of cases where you are really needed and earn CLE credit at the same time. We offer various seminars throughout the year at our office in the Central West End and other sites. But wait, there’s more. We are also happy to come to your office to conduct a CLE program for your attorneys. Topics include orders of protection/domestic violence, landlord/tenant, and public benefits, just to name a few. Please call us and we will be happy to make arrangements with you.
#3: Your firm may allow you to count some of your pro bono hours toward you billable hours requirement
Now that’s a deal. Talk to your law firm pro bono coordinator for more information. (And if your firm does not have this policy currently in place, maybe now is a good time to ask for it.)
#2: You can help make lawyers look good to our community and the rest of the country
We collect information about the number of hours and their value and report that information to many entities, including the Legal Service Corporation, United Way of Greater St. Louis, the Missouri Bar and the ABA. Help us let everyone know about the good work being done by attorneys in our community!
And the #1 reasons to do Pro Bono work for the VLP…JUSTICE!
We believe that our volunteer attorneys get a strong sense of fulfillment and satisfaction from knowing that they are contributing to equal access to justice by providing representation to deserving people who could not otherwise afford a lawyer.
Most attorneys feel a strong sense of responsibility to give back to the community in which they live and practice. The vast majority engage in volunteer work on some level. Please keep in mind that, unlike many other community volunteer opportunities, the VLP can only draw from the community of licenses attorneys to represent our clients. Pro Bono work is an excellent way to put to good use your unique skills and expertise.
If you are available to help Legal Services to Eastern Missouri and the Volunteer Lawyer Program provide access to the justice system for low-income, disabled and elderly people in our community please contact Patti Hageman at (314) 256-8707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.