- What if I’ve never done any pro bono work and don’t have any training or experience in the areas in which legal aid clients need assistance?
It is never too late to start doing pro bono work! There are several resources and supports available to help you. First, you can start by going to a free CLE training. Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada hosts trainings throughout the year in a range of subject areas, including family law, landlord-tenant law, and representing children in foster care. These seminars are designed specifically for new volunteers lacking experience.
You will also be assigned an experienced attorney mentor, receive a comprehensive nuts and bolts manual and have access to sample forms and pleadings. Legal Aid Center also offers complimentary support luncheons every other month. You are also welcome to start by co-counseling or shadowing your mentor before venturing out on your own.
There are several non-litigation opportunities available to government lawyers residing in Nevada. One of the most popular options is by participating in an Ask-A-Lawyer program. Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada offers low-income individuals the opportunity to meet with a volunteer attorney (free of charge) and receive a brief 15 – 30 minute consultation. The time commitment required for the attorney is only two or three hours.
Ask-A-Lawyer opportunities are available during the day, evening and on selected Saturdays. They involve a number of substantive areas, including Family Law and Landlord/Tenant Law as well as projects serving various populations such as small business owners, veterans, homeless individuals, senior citizens, and more.
Yes. While there are a variety of pro bono opportunities available to government lawyers, there are restrictions on the type of work that can be performed and the way in which it is carried out. These restrictions vary from agency to agency, but no government attorney may provide services that would conflict with his or her official duties.
In addition, government lawyers cannot indicate that they are acting on behalf of their agency when providing pro bono services. Generally, this means no use of office letterheads, business cards, or anything else that would identify you as a government employee.
If you are seeking to engage in any pro bono legal work, discuss your interest in doing pro bono with your supervisor and find out if your organization has a policy that addresses pro bono service.