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Volunteer Pro Bono Program

The mission of Legal Aid’s pro bono program is to recruit and utilize volunteer lawyers, paralegals, law students, and other professionals to bridge the gap between those vulnerable persons who need civil legal aid and their access to that assistance.  Legal Aid staff help an incredible number of clients each year – domestic violence victims, vulnerable families facing evictions, seniors in need of life-planning assistance, and many others who would otherwise be left without the assistance of counsel when they need it most.  But the demand for Legal Aid help far exceeds the capacity for service for which our funding allows.
 
That’s where you come in.
 
By volunteering your skills and expertise, you can promote access to justice for all by helping individuals who would otherwise be denied meaningful access to the legal system.  Dozens of attorneys already donate their time and talents to Legal Aid, but more volunteers are always needed to help our underserved communities.  If you answer the call to volunteer, Legal Aid’s pro bono team will be behind you every step of the way, offering such benefits as:
 
  •         Professional liability insurance
  •         Mentoring
  •         CLEs and other training opportunities
  •         Administrative support
  •         Public appreciation via recognition events and social media
  •         Networking opportunities
  •         The chance to explore new areas of the law
If you are interested in volunteering for any of the pro bono projects listed below, please fill out and submit the volunteer information sheet linked below.  You can also call or email Wes Deskins, our pro bono manager, at 859-254-1141 or wdeskins@lablaw.org
 
To volunteer for our Pro Bono Program please complete our Attorney Information Sheet HERE. 

For current volunteers, access training materials HERE
 

 
PRO BONO OPPORTUNITIES 

Bankruptcy Panel

We provide bankruptcy assistance that promotes a client’s ability to secure or keep income, housing, essential utility service, or a driver’s license. We help clients make difficult decisions about their financial status and whether filing bankruptcy is the best option for their situation. Our volunteers assist with both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy petitions.

Scope of work (full representation – 6-20 hours on average):

  • Following an eligibility determination, contact and meet with client

  • Complete all necessary documentation for case

  • Prepare and file all necessary paperwork

  • Maintain client communication

  • Attend all court proceedings

  • Assist LABG staff in obtaining all necessary administrative documents

  • Provide LABG staff with periodic case status updates, including when final judgments have been entered and time spent on the case.

 

Divorce Panel

We help people obtain a divorce when necessary for the stability or safety of the family. Kentucky had the 6th highest divorce rate in the country in 2019, with 3.4 divorces per 1,000 residents. Divorces help people and children leave bad, potentially even violent, situations; establish independence; and provide a positive economic impact for the family.

Scope of work (full representation – 15-hour minimum):

  • Following an eligibility determination, contact and meet with client

  • Investigate facts and determine best legal options

  • Prepare and file all pleadings and other necessary court paperwork

  • Maintain client communication

  • Attend all court proceedings

  • Assist LABG staff in obtaining all necessary administrative documents

  • Provide LABG staff with periodic case status updates, including when final decrees have been entered and time spent on the case

 

Pro Se Divorce Clinic (Northern Kentucky and Central Kentucky)

We help people obtain an uncontested divorce when no children and no property are in dispute. Kentucky had the 6th highest divorce rate in the country in 2019, with 3.4 divorces per 1,000 residents. Our divorce clinics help people leave bad, potentially even violent, situations; establish independence; and provide a positive economic impact. 

Scope of work (limited scope – 2-3 hours):

  • Attend scheduled clinic (clinics may be conducted in-person or remotely; no preparation required)

  • Supervise law students at the event

  • Answer client questions regarding divorce paperwork

  • If needed, serve as guardian ad litem or warning order attorney

  • Serve as an ambassador for LABG to clients and local courts

                                                      

Domestic/Interpersonal Violence Panel

We represent victims of domestic/interpersonal violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in civil protection order procedures. We help those who have experienced violence achieve maximum protection under the law.   

Scope of work (full representation – 5-10 hours on average):

  • Following an eligibility determination, contact and meet with client

  • Investigate facts and determine best legal options

  • Prepare and file all pleadings and other necessary court paperwork

  • Maintain client communication

  • Attend all court proceedings

  • Assist LABG staff in obtaining all necessary administrative documents

  • Provide LABG staff with periodic case status updates, including when orders have been entered and time spent on the case

 

Eviction Panel (Fayette County)

We help those who are homeless or at the brink of homelessness exert appropriate defenses to stay in their homes or move on their own terms. This pilot project in Fayette County joins volunteer attorneys with LABG clients for representation in eviction proceedings. Volunteers are asked to cover an eviction docket on a scheduled day.

Scope of work (2-4 hours on average):

  • Receive training materials and attend training hosted by LABG staff (2 hours – training may be conducted in-person or remotely)

  • Coordinate your scheduled cases/docket day

  • Receive client information, eviction notices, and other documents

  • Investigate facts and determine best legal options

  • Attend court at the scheduled date and time

  • Conduct any necessary follow-up

  • Maintain client communication

  • Assist LABG staff in obtaining all necessary administrative documents

  • Provide LABG staff with case status updates, including when final orders have been entered and time spent on the case

 

Expungement Panel

We help people obtain a criminal record expungement when it can eliminate a barrier to their stability.  Expungement is the legal process whereby an arrest, charge, or conviction is completely removed from a person’s criminal history record. This can remove impediments to job or educational opportunities and even some government assistance programs.

Scope of work (8 hours on average)

  • Attend training hosted by LABG staff (2 hours – training may be conducted in-person or remotely)

  • Following an eligibility determination, contact and meet with client

  • Complete petition and additional paperwork

  • Attend hearing on expungement petition (if necessary)

  • Maintain client communication

  • Assist LABG staff in obtaining all necessary administrative documents

  • Provide LABG staff with periodic case status updates, including when final orders have been entered and time spent on the case

 

Legal Information Clinic/Table

We connect people in need of assistance navigating through court forms and processes with volunteers who can provide them with basic legal information and resources.  Our legal information project promotes access to justice by providing the community with information, forms, and tools in such areas as housing, family law, and court process and procedure.

Scope of work (2-3 hours):

  • Attend scheduled clinic or staff legal information table/court self-help center (clinics may be conducted in-person or remotely; no preparation required in most cases)

  • Answer questions and provide basic legal information

  • Connect the community with applicable forms and resources

  • Assist with completion of court-approved forms

  • Where merited, make referrals to LABG or other community service organizations

  • Serve as an ambassador for LABG to the community and local courts

 

Life Planning Clinic

We help seniors create life planning documents to ensure their assets and finances are properly taken care of and their final wishes are met. AARP shows that 58% of individuals aged 50 or older do not have estate planning documents, and it is likely that the number is far lower in rural communities.

Scope of work (5 hours on average, travel may be required):

  • Attend scheduled clinic

  • Supervise law students at the event

  • Gather appropriate information from client

  • Draft life planning documents

  • Maintain client communication

  • Meet with client to have documents approved and executed

  • Assist LABG staff in obtaining all necessary administrative documents

  • Provide LABG staff with periodic case status updates, including when documents have been finalized and time spent on the case

 

Unemployment Insurance Appeals Panel

We help workers who have received an initial denial of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits or a determination of overpayment present an appeal to a Hearing Officer/Referee and, if appropriate, an appeal to the UI Commission.  UI benefits provide temporary financial assistance to workers unemployed through no fault of their own.  Consequently, they can be critical to allowing a worker to maintain financial stability while they seek other employment.

Scope of work (full representation – 15-hour minimum):

  • Following an eligibility determination and receipt of any documents provided to Legal Aid staff, contact client

  • Talk with client, review available documents, and request UI file, if necessary

  • Investigate facts and determine best legal options

  • Prepare and submit evidence prior to the hearing

  • Attend telephonic hearing, present evidence, and question witnesses

  • Assist LABG staff in obtaining all necessary administrative documents

  • Provide LABG staff with periodic case status updates, including when a Referee or Commission Decision has been issued and time spent on the case

 

Veterans Discharge Upgrade Clinic (Northern Kentucky)

In collaboration with the Northern Kentucky Bar Association, the Cincinnati VA Medical Center, and the Salmon P. Chase College of Law, we assist eligible U.S. military veterans who received a less than “Honorable” discharge with applications for upgrades to their discharge status. Such discharges often result unfairly from conduct related to post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, mental health conditions, and sexual orientation. Discharge upgrades enable veterans to access critical benefits such as VA healthcare, disability compensation, and education, as well as improve their employability and remove the stigma associated with a less than “Honorable” discharge.

Scope of work (mentoring – 10-15 hours on average):

  • Attend training hosted by LABG or other staff (2-4 hours)

  • Communicate with and mentor law students in completing all discharge upgrade application forms and other supportive filings, including briefs and evidentiary statements

  • Attend scheduled case status meetings (usually conducted remotely with law students, Chase staff, and LABG staff)

  • Assist LABG staff and law students in obtaining all necessary administrative documents

  • Provide LABG with periodic case status updates, including when final decisions have been entered and time spent on the case