Pro Bono Opportunities for Attorneys
Neighborhood Legal Services Program (NLSP) is a non-profit law firm whose mission is to provide client-centered, civil legal services to low-income residents of the District of Columbia. Formed in 1964, NLSP was one of the first federally-funded, civil legal services programs in the United States. NLSP is known as a pioneering force in the fight for justice for the poor. Many of our nation’s landmark cases and laws regarding the rights of the poor in housing, consumer protection, government benefits, education, employment and family law began in the neighborhood and community offices of legal services organizations like NLSP through the work of dedicated lawyers, paralegals and support teams determined to champion their client’s case. Today, NLSP provides legal representation in a full range of civil matters affecting the lives of the low-income including housing, health care, employment, consumer protection, education, discrimination, family court disputes, income maintenance, and the many civil consequences impacting persons with convictions and their families
Providing pro bono opportunities for members of the private bar and government attorneys is an important element of NLSP’s service delivery model. Volunteers assist us with the direct legal representation of low-income clients and by providing legal information in a court-based resource center in Small Claims Court. NLSP also uses volunteers to conduct community legal education and outreach to residents in the neighborhoods we service. Priorities for client service are defined by the low-income communities NLSP serves. Historically, this has resulted in a concentration of cases in the housing/landlord-tenant, family law and income maintenance areas.
NLSP supports our volunteers efforts from case assignment to closure, screening each pro bono matter carefully, providing a staff mentor and/or co-counsel, case materials and periodic training programs. NLSP's professional liability coverage extends to volunteer assignments whenever the program is the attorney of record.
Internship Opportunities for Law Students
NLSP also uses current law students to serve as legal interns in all three of our neighborhood offices. Interns assist our staff attorneys by conducting legal research across a variety of substantive areas. They also participate in client meetings, trial preparation, and community outreach activities. We also encourage all of our interns to take advantage of the professional networking and training opportunities available in Washington D.C. and the region. Candidates should have excellent writing, factual and legal analytical skills; strong organizational skills; good communication and interpersonal skills to communicate effectively with clients, the public, and co-workers; and the ability to work collaboratively with others. Bilingual language skills are also highly valued.
How to Volunteer
If you are interested in volunteering with the Neighborhood Legal Services Program, please contact NLSP Pro Bono Counsel Heather Hodges, at hhodges [at] nlsp.org or (202) 269-5100 Ext. 241.