Through an array of pro bono initiatives involving each of its practice areas, NLSP can best match the interests of volunteers with the expertise of NLSP attorneys in order to address critical, unmet legal needs of low-income residents in the District of Columbia. NLSP carefully designs volunteer opportunities to be impactful for clients and manageable for volunteers.
OUR CLIENTS, YOUR NEIGHBORS
An overwhelming demand exists for civil legal services, and NLSP strives to provide legal aid to low-income residents of the District of Columbia, aided by committed, pro bono lawyers. NLSP represents the region's neediest residents. All of NLSP’s pro bono clients are prescreened for financial need. Your pro bono assistance makes a significant difference for people in the communities where you live and work.
DIVERSE OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRO BONO LAWYERS
Volunteer opportunities are available to attorneys across all levels of experience, and NLSP welcomes the assistance of pro bono attorneys with activities in each of NLSP’s practice areas. NLSP supports volunteers from case assignment to closure, screening each pro bono matter carefully, ensuring adequate training, providing a staff mentor or co-counsel when requested, supplying case materials, and granting access to electronic research databases.
EXAMPLES OF RECURRING VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES:
- Safeguard the assets of low-income families and ensure the dignity of individuals in the estate planning process by assisting clients to create simple wills, advance directives, and power of attorney documents.
- Right the wrong of families who are denied housing because they use a rental subsidy. Attorneys can gain litigation and negotiation experience by representing low-income residents in source of income discrimination cases through the Office of Human Rights.
- Help individuals who face crushing student loan debt to get back into good standing. In one afternoon at a NLSP legal clinic, volunteer attorneys can help clients assess their defenses and apply for debt discharges.
- Transactional attorneys can apply their expertise to advise and represent low-equity housing cooperatives. Frequent areas of need are tax law, real estate law, employment law, and the review and negotiation of construction contracts. For more information about NLSP’s Housing Cooperative Preservation Initiative, click here.
- Fight evictions and inform tenants of their rights before their homes are lost. NLSP partners with volunteer attorneys to perform assessments of cases on-site at multi-unit rental buildings so that tenants are prepared for initial hearings in the Landlord-Tenant Branch of the DC Superior Court.
- Assist experienced NLSP staff attorneys to handle discrete aspects of family law litigation, such as obtaining a Qualified Domestic Relations Order in divorce cases and handling hearings and discovery in child support and child custody cases.
- Address racial inequality and improve the skills of the next generation of lawyers. Volunteers will review and give feedback on the legal writing of law students in motions to seal criminal records.
- Transactional matters
- Administrative advocacy
- Legal research
- Community outreach, education, and training
WHO CAN VOLUNTEER
As a general matter, all of our volunteer attorneys must be admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia. There are some exceptions, for example, for attorneys who work for the federal government or who have a pending application for admission to the D.C. Bar. Recent law school graduates and attorneys who are not licensed in the District of Columbia are advised to consult and review D.C. Court of Appeals Rule 49, governing the unauthorized practice of law in the District of Columbia, before engaging in pro bono work in Washington, D.C.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Bradford Voegeli, Director of Private Attorney Involvement at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-800-2158
- December 31, 2023
January 28, 2022