Request for Legal Clinic Volunteers

06/11/2018 - The Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless (RICH) has requested the Bar's Volunteer Lawyer Program's (VLP) assistance locating attorneys interested in participating in legal clinics for the homeless.

Since 1990, the Homeless Legal Clinic, coordinated by the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless (RICH), has enabled over three thousand homeless Rhode Islanders to access pro bono legal services through attorneys who volunteer at shelters and drop-in sites. By meeting with homeless persons in familiar and comfortable settings, patiently listening to personal accounts, and treating people with dignity and respect, the Homeless Legal Clinic has helped its clients to overcome legal barriers to housing and employment as well. This enables them to enjoy many of the legal outcomes many of us take for granted. There is a training and orientation process and support for the attorneys throughout. Some legal clinic locations are: Amos House in Providence, RI Crossroads in Providence, Pawtucket Soup Kitchen, and Harrington Hall in Cranston.

The VLP will provide RICH's Dee Dee Williams, Director of Education and Training, with a list of attorneys willing to speak and advise at clinics. Ms. Williams will follow-up and coordinate the legal clinics. If you are interested in learning more about this volunteer opportunity for our neediest citizens, please contact VLP Coordinator John Ellis at jellis@ribar.com. Some areas of law needing volunteer lawyer assistance include: housing, evictions, foreclosures, landlord/tenant issues, Social Security, veterans' issues, court procedures, bankruptcy, identification issues, food stamp benefits, unemployment appeals, general public assistance, and health care.

Volunteer attorneys may wish to accept individual civil law cases. If you are interested in taking a case, we will refer the client to you as a VLP case. The benefits of taking the case through the VLP include: 1) VLP malpractice insurance coverage; 2) free CLE coupons; 3) official Bar recording of your pro bono hours; and 4) waiver of filing and service fees for certain cases.

If you are interested in any of these special volunteer opportunities to help the homeless, please contact VLP Coordinator John Ellis at jellis@ribar.com