Advice and Referral Clinic
- About the Clinic
- What Volunteers Need to Know
- Directions to the Clinic
- Clinic Participants
It is estimated that about 70 percent of individuals requesting free legal assistance require only brief services—not full representation—to solve their legal problems. The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center Advice & Referral Clinic offers pro se individuals the opportunity to discuss with volunteer attorneys certain kinds of matters governed by D.C. or federal law, including bankruptcy/debt collection, consumer law, employment law, family law, health law, housing law, personal injury, probate, public benefits, and tax law. All services are provided free of charge.
The clinic is limited to providing general information, advice, and brief services, and does not provide representation.
Providing "brief services" may not always be achievable by the end of the clinic session. For example, calling a third party or government agency to ascertain information about a client's matter, writing a demand letter to a landlord or a judgment–proof letter to a creditor, or reviewing a contract or settlement agreement may require some of the volunteer attorney’s time after the clinic. However, clinic volunteers do not appear in court or otherwise establish an extended attorney–client relationship unless they wish to do so.
If brief service is not enough to resolve the problem or if a different type of service is required, clinic volunteers attempt to refer individuals to, or provide information about, a legal or social service provider appropriately suited to handle the case.
Local legal service providers also benefit from the Advice & Referral Clinic, since it lessens the number of individuals walking into their organizations, allowing those practitioners to spend more of their resources representing clients instead of providing general information, advice, and brief services.
Advice & Referral Clinic volunteers must be associated with a participating organization. Please refer to the list of clinic participants. If you are associated with a clinic participant, please contact that organization’s pro bono or volunteer coordinator to arrange to volunteer for the clinic. If you are not an employee or member of a participating organization, ask your employer, Bar section, voluntary bar association, or other organization to become a clinic participant. Representatives interested in enrolling their organizations in the clinic should contact Anne Smetak, managing attorney, at 202-737-4700, ext. 3380.
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On the second Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m., the Advice & Referral Clinic operates out of two locations: Bread for the City’s Northwest Center at 1525 7th Street NW, and Bread for the City’s Southeast Center at 1640 Good Hope Road, SE. Parking is available at both locations.
Volunteers should arrive at the clinic by 9:30 a.m. for a brief orientation of clinic operations. Bagels and juice will be served. Dress is casual. Volunteers should be prepared to stay until the last client is served (usually around 1:00 p.m.).
Although it is impossible to predict, most individuals have basic questions. Volunteers are not expected to be familiar with every area of the law. Mentors are available onsite and reference manuals are provided.
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Bread for the City’s Northwest Center:
To arrive by Metro take the Green Line to Shaw–Howard University Metro Station. Walk three blocks south to 1525 7th Street NW. Total walking distance is 0.29 miles.
Bread for the City’s Southeast Center:
To drive to the Center from downtown DC via I-395 N/I-695 E, take the 6th Street SE exit toward Navy Yard, making a slight right onto Virginia Avenue SE. Turn right onto 8th Street SE, left onto M Street SE, and then right onto 11th Street SE. Keep right at the fork, and then turn right onto O Street SE/Water Street SE. Then, turn right onto Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE. Take a left onto Good Hope Road, SE. Although the building is located at 1640 Good Hope Road, SE, to get to the parking lot you will need to go left on Minnesota Avenue, right on T Street, and right on 17th Street. Park behind the brown building.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Antitrust and Consumer Law Section, D.C. Bar
Asian Pacific American Bar Association
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC
Capital Area Muslim Bar Association
Columbus School of Law Catholic University of America
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
D.C. Access to Justice Commission
D.C. Bar Board of Governors
D.C. Bar Pro Bono Committee
Dickstein Shapiro LLP
Estates, Trusts and Probate Law Section, D.C. Bar
Family Law Section, D.C. Bar
Federal Communications Commission
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Federal Election Commission
Federal Trade Commission
Food and Drug Administration
Hunton & Williams LLP
K & L Gates
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
Keller & Heckman LLP
King & Spalding
Labor and Employment Law Section, D.C. Bar
Leadership Academy, D.C. Bar
Litigation Section, D.C. Bar
National Labor Relations Board
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Steptoe & Johnson LLP
Taxation Section, D.C. Bar
Tort Law Section, D.C. Bar
Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.
U.S. Agency for International Development
U.S. Air Force
U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division
U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Department of the Treasury
U.S. Department of Transporation
U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Office of Government Ethics
U.S. Office of Special Council
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
U.S. Small Business Administration
United States Postal Service
Washington Bar Association
Washington Council of Lawyers
Young Lawyers Section, Bar Association of the District of Columbia