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Pro Bono Case of the Month

Pro Bono Cases of the Month
Pro Bono Cases of the Month reflect one or more of the many requests for help from clients in desperate need through the Rhode Island Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyer Program (VLP), Elderly Program or U.S. Armed Forces Legal Services Project. VLP, funded through a grant from Rhode Island Legal Services, Inc. and the Rhode Island Bar Foundation, provides pro bono legal services to qualified low-income Rhode Islanders. Participating attorneys provide legal assistance, at no charge. The client’s income must qualify under federally regulated guidelines to receive pro bono assistance, and the case must fall under one of the areas of law handled by the VLP. Clients may be responsible for filing fees, court costs and other out-of-pocket expenses.


Custody, Providence County, not yet filed
Client is grandmother and legal guardian (per probate court order) of 5-year-old grandson. The child has lived with her since he was 6 months old. The biological mother has had substance abuse issues over the years and has not been able to care for the child. However, bio-mom recently filed a motion in the probate court to contest the guardianship. The probate court judge has suggested that the VLP client file a motion for custody in the family court as the probate court is not the proper venue to determine the fitness of a parent. Client has a VLP attorney who filed the guardianship case and will stay on as co-counsel. However, he is anticipating a family court trial and he needs an experienced FC trial lawyer to take the lead. VLP attorney says that case must be filed by mid-January. If you would like to assist with this case, please contact Volunteer Lawyer Program Coordinator, John Ellis at (401) 421-7758 or


Elderly Pro Bono - Foreclosure Prevention, Cranston - Client is 63 years old, head of house with 3 small children. He became unemployed due to COVID-19 and lost his small convenience store in the riots (insurance didn't cover riots.) Because of this, client was unable to pay his mortgage for the months June, July, and August. Upon returning to work, client made his September payment (payment was accepted) but the bank refused to accept his November and December payments and have started foreclosure proceedings. Client had an attorney helping him with the matter and he attempted contacting the mortgage company with no response. The attorney is no longer practicing but his office can provide all the documentation to anyone who decides to take the case. If you would like to assist with this case, please contact Lawyer Referral Service & Elderly Pro Bono Program Coordinator, Elisa King at (401) 421-7799 or