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Welcome to Metro Volunteer Lawyers


Co-sponsored by the following Bar Associations: Adams/Broomfield, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas/Elbert, and First Judicial District

MVL’s mission is “to bridge the gap in access to justice by coordinating the provision of pro bono legal services by volunteer lawyers within the Denver Metro Area to people who could not otherwise afford legal services for their civil legal issues.”

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Welcome to Metro Volunteer Lawyers

Co-sponsored by the following Bar Associations: Adams/Broomfield, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas/Elbert, and First Judicial District

MVL’s mission is “to bridge the gap in access to justice by coordinating the provision of pro bono legal services by volunteer lawyers within the Denver Metro Area to people who could not otherwise afford legal services for their civil legal issues.”

DONATE"I Need Help"Volunteer


Contact

 

Our Programs

 

Metro Volunteer Lawyers provides free and low-cost civil legal services through multiple programs: Referrals, the Family Law Court Program, Post-Decree Clinics, the Legal Clinic at the Denver Indian Center, and the Power of Attorney Clinics.

A.  Referrals
MVL recruits and coordinates volunteer attorneys to represent people who otherwise could not afford legal assistance. Colorado Legal Services handles the initial client intake process and sends selected cases to MVL for referral.

Referral Program Volunteer Sign-Up Sheet Now Available!  Sign-up Now!

MVL recruits and coordinates volunteer attorneys to represent people who otherwise could not afford legal assistance. Colorado Legal Services handles the initial client intake process and then sends selected cases to MVL for referral. You can contact Colorado Legal Services by calling 303-837-1313. Once a potential client has completed an intake through Colorado Legal Services and has been accepted into our Referral program, MVL's Legal Services Coordinator further reviews the file and begins contacting volunteer attorneys to try and place the case.

Although we will exercise every effort to do so, MVL offers no guarantee that we will successfully find an attorney to take your case.

Family matters (divorce, allocation of parental responsibilities, adoption, and post decree)
Probate (wills, power of attorney, guardianships, and conservatorships)
Consumer (contracts and warranties)
Financial (bankruptcy, tax, and collections)
Social Security/SSI
Housing (landlord/tenant and real estate)

We are unable to accept criminal cases of any kind.

B.  Family Law Court Program

The vast majority of the clients served by MVL need assistance with their domestic relations cases. Therefore, in an effort to accommodate as many people as possible, MVL developed its Family Law Court Program (“FLCP”). We coordinate and manage monthly FLCP clinics in Douglas, Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, and Jefferson counties.

FLCP Schedule and Volunteer Sign-Up Sheet Now Available! Sign-up Now!

 

MVL’s Family Law Court Program (“FLCP”) assists clients with uncomplicated, uncontested divorce or custody matters, where the other party is not represented by an attorney. FLCP clients represent themselves, appearing pro se, but are assisted through the process by MVL. Clinics take place each month in Douglas, Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, and Jefferson counties. The program accepts approximately 500 clients per year!

FLCP clients are all people who have previously contacted and conducted an intake interview through Colorado Legal Services. You can contact Colorado Legal Services by calling 303-837-1313.

The general FLCP process is as follows: 

Step 1: In order to be considered for FLCP, you must first apply to Colorado Legal Services through its regular intake process. Colorado Legal Services will determine if the case is appropriate for FLCP, and if so, refer the case to the program. You will be notified whether your case was sent to Metro Volunteer Lawyers (“MVL”), and then MVL will inform you whether or not you have been accepted into the program. 

Step 2: If accepted into FLCP, you will be notified about the date, time, and place of your first appointment. On this date, you will be assisted with completing the legal documents necessary to initiate your family law case. An MVL staff member, volunteer attorney, law student, or other legal professional will be there to guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have. The documents necessary to initiate your case will vary, but typically include a Statement of Understanding, 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.

Step 3: MVL will then file your case for you and arrange personal service on the opposing party. Service of process is typically done by a private process server or a sheriff. If the opposing party lives in Colorado, you will be asked to bring a money order in the amount of $55 to cover administrative costs. If the opposing party lives outside of Colorado, the amount is $75. If you cannot afford this fee, we encourage you to attend the appointment nonetheless. Once the opposing party has been served, MVL will then schedule your case for a Permanent Orders hearing (this is the hearing where a divorce judgment will enter, and where allocation of parental responsibilities will be decided). If the opposing party cannot be served despite substantial effort, MVL will assist you with serving by publication. Although undesirable because service by publication limits the orders a court can make, at times it is the only option to move the case forward. At least 91 days must pass after service of process before the case can be heard. Once scheduled, MVL will notify you of the date and time of the Permanent Orders hearing, as well as send the opposing party notice. 

Step 4: On the date of your Permanent Orders hearing, you will come to the court and meet with a volunteer attorney. You and the attorney will prepare the final paperwork required for your hearing. This will include assisting you with completing the applicable proposed orders that will be submitted to the judge at the hearing. This attorney will further prepare you for the hearing, and then represent you during the actual hearing. After hearing the case, the judge will typically enter permanent orders immediately. Your volunteer attorney will represent you solely for the duration of the hearing, and once it has concluded, he or she will be withdrawn from the case. Afterwards, you will receive a copy of the final divorce decree and/or permanent orders. MVL’s involvement in your case will then be complete. You may still, however, re-apply to Colorado Legal Services in the future if you are in need of legal assistance and unable to afford an attorney. 

C.  Post-Decree Clinics

MVL also coordinates and manages Post-Decree Clinics for domestic relations cases in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, and Jefferson counties. The Post-Decree Clinics assist individuals with legal problems that arise after Permanent Orders have been entered in a Dissolution of Marriage or Allocation of Parental Responsibilities case.

2019 Post-Decree Clinic Schedule and Volunteer Sign-Up Sheet Now Available! Sign-up Now!

Metro Volunteer Lawyers coordinates and manages Post-Decree Clinics for domestic relations cases in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties. The Post-Decree Clinics are NOT walk-in clinics. The clients are all people who have previously contacted and conducted an intake interview through Colorado Legal Services. You can contact Colorado Legal Services by calling 303-837-1313. Eligible clients are referred to MVL if they meet MVL's financial eligibility guidelines and if their case was heard in any of the counties listed above. These clinics are meant to assist pro se individuals with legal problems that arise AFTER Permanent Orders have been entered in a Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce) or Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (Custody) case. At the clinic, volunteers review the client's court files, meet with the client, offer advice, and at times prepare relevant motions, pleadings, and/or proposed orders. The main goal of the clinic is to provide meaningful post-decree assistance for people who are representing themselves in ongoing litigation. The attorneys simply advise the clients regarding the limited scope of representation and indicate on each document they produce for the clients that they have assisted with the preparation of those documents. 

D.  Legal Clinic at the Denver Indian Center

MVL began working in the spring of 2012 with the Denver Indian Center to provide a walk-in clinic each month. The clinic meets in the Denver Indian Center on the first Wednesday of every month. Metro Volunteer Lawyers sponsors and coordinates volunteers for the clinic.

E.  Power of Attorney Workshop

The Power of Attorney Workshop’s goal is to provide advanced planning documents to low-income clients, with a focus on serving low-income seniors. Volunteer attorneys assist clients with financial powers of attorney, medical powers of attorney, declarations of disposition of last remains, and living wills.

 

Power of Attorney Clinic Schedule and Volunteer Sign-Up Sheet Now Available! Sign-up Now!

The Power of Attorney Clinic is designed to help low-income seniors complete advance planning documents including medical power of attorney, financial power of attorney, living wills and declaration of disposition of last remains.  The POA clinic is done in 2 parts, a presentation and a workshop.  The presentation is meant to educate those in attendance about advanced planning documents and why they are important.  At the workshop, which usually takes place a week later in the same location, volunteer attorneys sit with clients one-one-one and help seniors complete advanced planning documents.  All documents completed at the clinics are signed, witnessed and notarized as appropriate.

 


 

make an IMPACT

By becoming involved with Metro Volunteer Lawyers, you can assist
those in need while helping shape your profession’s future.

In many cases, lawyers can identify and resolve legal issues without going to court or can resolve court cases more efficiently and fairly than persons representing themselves. 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 and full participation in society.

Referral Program: MVL is always in need of volunteer attorneys to take pro bono or low fee cases. To sign up to take a case or as a mentor, just complete this online form.

 

Taking a Case:
Once you sign-up to take on a case pro bono or low-fee, we will try to provide you with a case that fits your criteria (case type, county preference, etc.). Once we identify an appropriate case for you, we will send you the client’s intake documentation. The client will also receive a letter with your contact information, with a recommendation that he or she contact you. We inform the client that it is not guaranteed that you will take the case, as a conflict of interest, for example, could occur. The decision whether you can and will take the case remains with you.

If you cannot represent a prospective client, we ask that you let us know as soon as possible so we can try to find another attorney for the client, as well as hopefully provide you with a new case. If you are able to take the case, we recommend having the client sign a Letter of Engagement (click HERE  for a sample), describing, in part, the scope of representation and the expectations of the parties.

 

After your representation comes to an end, it is important that you return a completed Case Summary Form to MVL at your earliest convenience.

 

Family Law Court Program: MVL is in need of volunteer attorneys, law students, and paralegals for our Family Law Court Program. No experience in family law is necessary as MVL will guide you through the process.

 

Post Decree Clinic: MVL is in need of family law attorneys for our Post Decree Clinics. This is an opportunity to meet with clients one-on-one to help clients represent themselves in the court.

 

Legal Clinic at the Denver Indian Center: MVL is in need of volunteer attorneys, paralegals, and law students for the Legal Clinic at the Denver Indian Center. 

 

Power of Attorney Clinic: MVL is in need of volunteer attorneys to assist with advanced planning documents. No experience in estate planning is necessary to volunteer as MVL will guide you through the process.

 

 

Contact Information for Attorneys and Volunteers:
METRO VOLUNTEER LAWYERS
1905 Sherman St, Suite 400
Denver, CO 80203
Tel: 303-830-8210
Fax: 303-837-0019
Email: information@denbar.org

Reasons to Volunteer with MVL:

  • Helping MVL clients is a rewarding way to serve the needs of the less fortunate in your community, helping work towards our constitutional mandate of providing equal justice under the law.
  • Advancing the reputation of the legal profession.
  • Obtaining practical legal experience.
  • Fulfilling your professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay. A lawyer should aspire to render at least fifty hours of pro bono public legal services per year. Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 6.1.
  • You can receive CLE credits for pro bono work. Under C.R.C.P. 260.8, Colorado attorneys providing uncompensated pro bono legal representation may apply for 1 general CLE credit for every 5 billable-equivalent hours of representation, up to a maximum of 9 credits in each 3 year compliance period. Download the application form HERE.
  • MVL provides attorneys with malpractice insurance for the cases they take through our organization.

Retired Attorneys and Attorneys Licensed Out-of-State:
You can still volunteer! Retired attorneys and attorneys with out-of state licenses can apply for a provisional license to work on pro bono cases in Colorado. Read the applicable rule HERE, and find the application form HERE.

Forms and Resources for Volunteer Attorneys

If you are looking for a mentor but are not able to take a bro bono case through MVL at this time, you should consider the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program or contacting your local bar association.

Instructions to Request Waiver of Filing Fees

Application for CLE credit for Pro Bono Representation

See the Colorado State Judicial Branch website for downloadable forms and instructions

Interested in getting support from law students for your pro bono work for MVL? Want to mentor law students? Believe in exposing students to the wonderful world of pro bono? Denver Law invites you to participate in its Pro Bono Research Project! Through the project, lawyers get the legal support they need while helping students fulfill their pro bono public service requirements. Visit the website or contact Alexi Freeman at afreeman@law.du.edu or 303-871-6788 for more information.

Colorado Bar Association Pro Bono Opportunities and Rules (includes a valuable pro bono guidebook for attorneys)

Review applicable sections of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure through Casemaker for members of the CBA, or for anyone free through Lexis-Nexis. For example, Rules 10 and 11 provide important information regarding the form, content, and formatting of pleadings, and Rule 121 provides important practice standards.

Sign up to be a part of  the Colorado Supreme Court’s Pro Bono Recognition Program for those who commit to and/or achieve their goal of providing at least 50 hours of pro bono service each year.

Stay up-to-date on Denver Bar Association news and events, and read The Docket 

Stay up-to-date on Colorado Bar Association news and events, and read The Colorado Lawyer 

CBA/CLE Legal Connection (connecting you to the latest in Colorado law)

The Colorado Access to Justice Commission

SelfHelpSupport.org (supporting courts, community and legal aid self help practitioners)

The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (providing others, in part, with the knowledge to advance a more accessible legal system)

Colorado Department of Local Affairs Housing Guide

A Practical Guide to the Indian Child Welfare Act

National Organization for Women Foundation (links to family law and domestic violence benchbooks)

Juvenile Law Benchbook

Richard Zorza’s Access to Justice Blog

“There can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has.” Justice Hugo Black

Additional Legal Resources 

If Metro Volunteer Lawyers is unable to assist you, see below for a valuable list of resources. We wish you much success in resolving your legal issue.