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The provision of legal services helps stabilize families, saves taxpayers money, reduces the number of cases clogging the courts, and helps people move toward self-sufficiency. MVL provides legal services to those at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines; please consider giving a few hours of your time to those in your community who could not otherwise afford civil legal services.
We have several volunteer opportunities for attorneys, mediators, paralegals and law students to meet your needs:
Referral Program: MVL’s Referral Program coordinates volunteer attorneys to provide pro bono legal services for the following types of cases:
Consumer and Financial
Legal Clinic at the Denver Indian Center: Metro Volunteer Lawyers began working in the Spring of 2012 with the Denver Indian Center to provide a walk-in clinic each month aimed at helping Native Americans in need of legal services. The project was initiated by two Native American attorneys: Dianne Van Voorhees, MVL’s past Director, and Danielle L. Demkowicz, a former MVL Board Member. The first clinic was held on April 4, 2012 and soon became a monthly event. The clinic meets at the Denver Indian Center in Denver, Colorado on the first Wednesday of every month. Attorneys volunteer their time to help with resource referral, understanding the legal process, and how to proceed as a pro-se party. No attorney-client relationship is established. Opportunities available for attorneys, law students and paralegals.
WHERE: The Denver Indian Center 4407 Morrison Rd Denver, CO 80219
WHEN: First Wednesday of Every Month 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Power of Attorney Workshop: Metro Volunteer Lawyers works with low-income senior centers to assist applicants in completing various advance planning documents, including:
- medical power of attorney,
- financial/general durable power of attorney,
- advance health care directive (living will), and/or
- declaration of disposition of last remains.
Through our relationships with local senior centers, MVL is able to educate seniors regarding the various documents, important considerations, and how they can be individualized to meet each applicant's needs. MVL staff then screens interested applicants to determine if they are eligible for free legal services through MVL. Eligible applicants are assigned to volunteer attorneys who assists the applicant by drafting the documents according to the applicant's desires. All forms are provided by MVL. Opportunities for volunteers include remote clinics, in-person programing, or individually scheduled phone meetings. Once the documents have been drafted and reviewed by the applicant, MVL staff provides brief, in-person, socially distant notarization and witnessing services. This is a wonderful opportunity for volunteer attorneys to provide seniors with much needed comfort and peace of mind.
The vast majority of applicants served by MVL need assistance with domestic relations cases. In addition to our Referral Program, MVL offers various family law clinics designed to assist applicants:
Family Law Court Program: Our Family Law Court Program (“FLCP”) we assist clients with uncomplicated, uncontested family law matters. FLCP clients represent themselves, appearing pro se, but are guided through the process by MVL. FLCP is a fantastic opportunity for attorneys who are interested in assisting with family law matters but perhaps do not regularly practice in this area.
Volunteers assist clients through FLCP on an unbundled basis. Each session is approximately 2-4 hours, and the volunteers’ representation ends at the conclusion of the clinic. There are two phases of FLCP where we use volunteers: Client Meetings and Permanent Orders Hearings.
At Client Meetings, volunteers help clients complete the documents necessary to file a dissolution of marriage or allocation of parental responsibilities case. The documents vary depending on the case, but typically include a Motion to Waive the Filing Fee, a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Allocation of Parental Responsibility, a Sworn Financial Statement, and a Service of Process questionnaire. Attorneys, paralegals, and law students are all welcome to volunteer at Client Meetings.
For Permanent Orders Hearings, volunteer attorneys help prepare the final paperwork required and represent clients at the Court hearing. No experience in family law is necessary as MVL provides all the necessary paperwork and guides you through the process.
FLCP is currently offering both in-person and remote sessions. Opportunities for volunteers include in-person meetings, remote clinics via Zoom or WebEx, or individually scheduled phone meetings.
Post Decree Consultation Program: MVL is currently seeking experienced family law attorneys to assist in its Post Decree Consultation program. In the post decree consultation program, eligible low-income and low-resource applicants may have questions about the permanent orders in their Dissolution of Marriage, Allocation of Parental Responsibilities or child support case, or how to revisit the permanent orders, or what to do next in ongoing litigation in which they are pro se. For no more than one hour per client, volunteers will meet with their clients in either a telephonic, virtual (Zoom), or in-person setting (usually at the district courthouse). Before the meetings, MVL staff will provide volunteers with the names of the applicants and opposing parties for conflict checks, and when conflicts are cleared, provide relevant information about each applicant's case. MVL staff will secure the applicant's acknowledgement that the volunteer's representation is limited to the consultation only. Before, during and after the consultation, MVL staff is available to provide court forms or other information to the applicants as directed by the volunteers. When post decree consultation clinics are held on Zoom or in-person, the clinic hours are from one to three hours long depending on the number of clients and volunteers. Volunteers are covered by MVL's malpractice insurance.
Family Law Unbundled
Volunteers provide unbundled legal services to low-income families needing assistance with dissolution of marriage or allocation of parental responsibility cases by focusing on problem-solving through:
- Legal clinics,
- Limited scope representation,
- Negotiation assistance,
- Pro-se court preparation, and
- Mediation preparation.
Volunteer family law practitioners are given a case file in advance of one-time consultations which allows them to help draft motions, prepare for upcoming hearings, and give advice about next steps necessary in a case. Opportunities for volunteers include remote clinics, in-person programing, or individually scheduled phone meetings.
Mediation Program: MVL works with volunteer mediators to provide pro bono mediation services to family law applicants who are unable to afford mediation services.
Benefits of Volunteering
- Help people in need.
- Gain critical courtroom experience.
- You can receive the assistance of a mentor when handling MVL cases.
- Network with other legal professionals.
- Earn CLE credit
- Malpractice insurance coverage is provided for legal assistance conferred through MVL.