NWI Volunteer Lawyers, Inc.

The "Access to Justice" Project for Lake, Porter, Jasper, & Newton Counties

Attorneys

Info & FAQs

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Forms and other info for Attorneys:  Click Here

To answer legal questions on-line:   Click Here

Why Should I Volunteer?

We made a promise: "I do solemnly swear or affirm that....I will never reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless, the oppressed, or those who cannot afford adequate legal assistance..."        Oath of Attorneys, Indiana Rules of Admission to the Bar and Discipline of Attorneys.

Doing pro bono work is almost always immensely satisfying to you as well as to your client.  As  "James W. McElhaney, better known to the readers of the ABA Journal as "Angus", wisely counseled, "Success in the practice of law is not defined by the biggest salary, the largest firm or the most important cases. Success is about righting wrongs, keeping the system honest and helping people who are in trouble. Few things are more rewarding than confronting injustice."

"Access to Justice...for All" - Why is goal so essential? 

"The rights and responsibilities of individuals and organizations in the United States are increasingly defined in legal terms. As a consequence, legal assistance in coping with the web of statutes, rules and regulations is imperative for persons of modest and limited means, as well as for the relatively well-to-do." Rule 6.1, Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct, Comment [2]

How to Volunteer:

 Download our Attorney sign-up form and mail/email or fax to our office.

What Kinds of Cases Will I be Asked to Assist?

Although assistance with family law matters is by far most often requested, we do assist a wide variety of civil matters in the areas of housing, consumer issues, basic elder law and probate/estate matters, public benefits, and assistance to charitable not-for-profits that primarily serve low-income/disadvantaged persons. Please designate on the application form all the types of civil matters that you handle....and any that you would be willing to try with the assistance of an experienced attorney mentor.  Also list any non-English capabilities offered by you or your firm.

After I sign up, then what?

You will be contacted by email or fax when we have an eligible client whom you might be able to assist. Please let us know as soon as possible whether you will consider this particular matter by checking the "Yes" box and returning the form to us.  The applicant may already have been on our waiting list for a time.  We would like to move their case as expeditiously as possible and often there are time considerations for the client's case.

If you agree to consider the case, we will send a letter to the client referring them to you for an initial appointment and your final screening and, hopefully, acceptance of representation for the matter referred.  We will also send you a letter confirming the referral, along with any file documents that we may received in regard to the client's legal problem, and two forms for you to use in notifying us you have accepted the case.

After you meet with the prospective client:

Please complete our Initial Disposition Form and, assuming you accepted the case, in order to be covered by our professional liabilityinsurance you must also file the executed Client Retainer Agreement with our office. If you are initiating a new court case you also should file the Petition for Fee Waiver, which can be approved by the Clerk for pro bono cases from our program. .

After you have accepted representation:

Please keep track of your time. Attorneys who donate at least 50 pro bono hours in a calendar year are eligible for a partial discount from ICLEF for up to twelve hours of CLE the following calendar year.

FYI: The Indiana State Bar Association’s House of Delegates has adopted an aspirational goal of fifty pro bono hours a year, or an equivalent financial contribution to programs that provide free legal services, for each member of the bar.


 

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