Pro Bono Program: Advocacy and Justice Clinic for Solo and Small Firm Attorneys

What It Is
The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program’s Advocacy and Justice Clinic provides representation to clients with civil legal problems in an effort to address the unmet legal needs of District residents living in poverty. This past year alone we placed more than 350 cases with pro bono attorneys. Solo and small firm attorneys are being recruited to participate in the Advocacy and Justice Clinic to help clients address serious housing code violations, secure desperately needed public assistance, and handle child support matters.  

Training and Support
The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program offers a comprehensive support network and resources to ensure our volunteers provide high quality legal representation. Each pro bono lawyer will be assigned an expert mentor who is available to provide guidance on all substantive and procedural matters, as well as client management issues that arise during the course of representation. Pro Bono Program staff is also available to provide support and consultation. In addition, a free online resource is available to all pro bono attorneys, which includes comprehensive libraries of training material, model pleadings, training manuals, and training videos. The Pro Bono Program also has limited litigation funds available to be used in these pro bono cases and will arrange for interpreter and translation services, if necessary. 

How It Works
About a week before the clinic night, the pro bono attorney will receive the case file so that conflicts can be cleared and the attorney can review the initial case information. The clinics are held on Wednesday nights, at which time the pro bono attorney will have the initial client meeting. D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program staff and the expert mentors will be available on site at the clinic to facilitate the initial meeting and provide immediate support. The Clinic is next scheduled for Wednesday, July 23 at 5:30 p.m. at 1101 K Street NW, Suite 200. Please review the steps outlined in the section below to apply.

How to Become a Volunteer
If you are interested in participating and taking a case through our July 23, 2014 Clinic, please complete the Volunteer Interest Form and e–mail your resume to Vanessa Batters-Thompson, managing attorney, at VBatters-Thompson@dcbar.org. Once the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program reviews your information, provided you meet the below criteria, you will be contacted to schedule a brief 15 minute telephone interview with Pro Bono Program staff. After the completion of the interview, you will be notified by the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program about the availability to participate in the Clinic on July 23, 2014.

In order to participate in this pilot clinic you must:
  • Have at least 2 years of litigation experience or some relevant experience in housing, disability, or family law;
  • Be licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia; and
  • Be willing to take on representation of a pro bono client and see the case through to completion.
If you are interested in the opportunity, but are unable to participate on July 23, 2014, please follow the above steps and be sure to note your availability to take a case. If you are selected to participate in the program and the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program is able to accomodate your availability, there may be an opportunity to volunteer after July 23, 2014.