Vermont Volunteer Lawyers Project

Sign up to be a volunteer with the Vermont Volunteer Lawyers Project!  Make a difference in someone's life. We need your help now! Here is more information about the project. 
 

Who We Are

Vermont Volunteer Lawyers Project 
The VVLP is a cooperative effort of The Vermont Bar Association and Legal Services Law Line. The VVLP is the only organized pro bono project in the state of Vermont. As volunteers with the VVLP each attorney is asked to give some time to help the indigent, but they give much more. They give dignity by reaching out and lending a helping hand; they give power to those in fear that fight poverty every day; they give hope where despair is the only reality. Whether you give one or one-hundred hours of your time, your participation in the VVLP makes a significant difference in people's lives. By responding to the pleas for help and providing equal access to justice, each of you gives back to and strengthens your community. 

Legal Services Law Line
Legal Services Law Line of Vermont, Inc., a nonprofit corporation created by Vermont Legal Aid and the Vermont Bar Association, has received a grant from the Legal Services Corporation in Washington, D.C. to provide quick advice, brief services and community education to low income Vermonters. Law Line's Board of Directors includes five attorneys appointed by the VBA: John Shullenberger of Jericho, Paula Kane of St. Albans, Jim May of South Royalton, Jay Abramson of St. Johnsbury and Lisa Shelkrot of Burlington. There are also three client board members: Edna Fairbanks-Williams, of Fair Haven, appointed by President Clinton to the national Legal Services Board, Flora Mason of Bennington and Roz Payne of Richmond. Tom Garrett, formerly of Vermont Legal Aid, is the Executive Director. 

Law Line takes referrals directly from Vermont Legal Aid. Its mission is to provide high quality, high volume legal services to all low income Vermonters with civil legal problems and to promote the empowerment, dignity and equality of all Vermonters. Its priorities are based on the notion that since full representation for everyone with a serious legal problem is not an attainable goal, Law Line will try to help every poor Vermonter to solve their legal problem on their own. Law Line's goal is the empowerment of individuals and families, helping people to help themselves. In addition to self-help services, Law Line hopes to increase use of pro bono attorneys through the Vermont Volunteer Lawyers Project. 

VVLP and its director, Angele Court, are part of Law Line. Although case referrals will continue as usual through the VVLP, there are now additional pro bono opportunities for Vermont Attorneys. Angele has contacted county bar presidents and plans to attend meetings throughout the state, to provide an opportunity for you to have input into the development of new initiatives. Providing assistance to the growing number of pro se litigants is a challenging task. This type of service is an integral part of the idea of equal access to justice. An important piece to this type of delivery of legal services is the ability to find pro bono attorneys through VVLP whenever possible. This is where your help is so desperately needed. The partnership of Law Line staff and Vermont attorneys is the key to an effective and successful program.

What You Get 

Pre Screened Cases
VVLP staff determines financial eligibility for each client before being referred for pro bono service. Clients are interviewed to determine what legal issues need to be addressed. Your name and phone number is given to the client only after you have talked to VVLP staff and agree to accept the referral.

Reimbursement of Expenses 
VVLP will reimburse you for any out of pocket expenses from the case such as: long distance phone calls, copying costs, filing fees and mileage. In some cases, other types of expenses can be reimbursed, however you must get pre-approval from the project.

Access To National Law Centers 
As a VVLP pro bono attorney you receive discounts on valuable materials and events from the National Law Centers. There is currently information available on special discounts for pro bono attorneys from the National Consumer Law Center. If you are interested in receiving this information please contact the VVLP. Training Events As a VVLP volunteer you are eligible to receive low cost or free CLE training. Topics for upcoming events include: foreclosure, senior citizen issues and mentoring for new attorneys.

Other Pro Bono Opportunities with the Vermont VLP

Mentoring Here 
An opportunity for you to help a new attorney or an attorney willing to take on a new area of the law. This allows you to get pro bono credit for teaching what you already know. It helps the project because you are sharing your expertise and helping the VVLP increase its volunteer panel.

Be a Trainer on a VVLP CLE Event 
This is another way for you to get pro bono credit and help the project recruit new attorneys. Specialized Projects Do you have a special interest in a unique pro bono idea or project? The VVLP Director will meet with you to discuss what you would like to do to help either on an individual or group basis.

Bankruptcy Referral List
Law Line receives dozens of calls each week from low income Vermonters with debt hanging over their heads. They call seeking help with a bankruptcy. Often they have heard from friends that a bankruptcy can solve all their money problems. Since nothing is quite that simple, Law Line staff attorneys and paralegals counsel individuals on the law regarding debt collection practices and their rights and responsibilities as debtors. People often want the relief that a bankruptcy can provide. They may not have a full time job, they may have no attachable property and can barely keep a roof over their heads and their families fed. These individuals need an attorney to represent them in a simple chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy. We want to be able to refer debtors to attorneys who can help them with bankruptcy for a price that people can afford. 

If you would like your name on our referral list please call Angele Court at 802-863-7153 Ext. 18 or 1-800-639-8857. Or fax your name, address, phone number and fee structure to 802-651-4130. We plan to send this list out to clients that indicate an interest in hiring an attorney to help them with their situation.

Click here for a sign-up form.