Experience. Given, Gained, and Shared.
By volunteering, your experience is immediately put to good use. You’ll be given the opportunity to learn new skills and gain experience. You’ll be part of an incredible team, changing lives for years to come. NLS welcomes those who wish to volunteer time and services in helping our clients obtain equal access to justice. Whether you volunteer for just a day, or for a longer-term, we have flexible opportunities. Click here for a detailed guide of Pro Bono volunteer opportunities.
PAProbono.net is an online community that provides information and resources for pro bono attorneys, legal aid attorneys, paralegals, and other legal advocates interested in created access to justice. NLS encourages pro bono volunteers to visit the website at www.paprobono.net to access helpful training materials and other resources. Click on the "Join the Pennsylvania Civil Law Practice Area" link on the home page to become a member of the password protected website. If you are already a member click here to be directed to our folder with fillable court documents, webinars, and more.
Volunteer Opportunities With NLS
NLS’s pro bono and reduced fee referral programs provide its clients with legal representation in bankruptcy, child snatch, custody, unemployment compensation, expungement, Protection From Abuse, SSI termination and orphan’s court cases. (Types of cases referred vary from county to county). Click here for a detailed guide on ways you can help.
Internships for law students, both during the school year and the summer, introduce students to the practice of poverty law through hands on experience.
Work with administration on NLS pro bono projects and provide help in maintaining our database, contacting clients, and organizing data for reports.
Skill-based Volunteer Areas
Opportunities exist in various skill-specific areas such as web development, grants research and writing, and language translation services to name a few. NLS routinely posts skill-specific volunteer opportunities on the Catchafire.org and Taprootplus.org volunteer platform. For a current listing of skill-specific and/or specialty projects, please click here.
Frequently Asked Questions for Volunteers
Yes, you can earn one CLE credit for every 5 hours of pro bono work that you do for NLS, up to 3 CLE credits per year. Credits are reported at the completion of the case.
Malpractice insurance will be provided by NLS for all pro bono cases.
Volunteers will charge no fee for services but may be reimbursed by NLS for out-of-pocket and litigation expenses with the prior approval of NLS. The volunteer may accept any attorney fees awarded by the court, so long as the client pays nothing. Volunteers may elect to donate/direct attorney fees to NLS’s Equal Justice Campaign.
NLS needs volunteers who will accept one or more cases a year (depending on difficulty and time required) or participate in various projects.
In most referral areas, other than PFA cases, volunteers need experience in the substantive law. In order to assist volunteers in the representation of clients referred by NLS, periodic training sessions on the particular substantive areas of the law are offered. Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits are available free of charge for training participants who accept case referrals. NLS staff attorneys, experienced in legal concerns of the poor, are available to answer questions and to mentor volunteer attorneys. In addition, a number of private attorneys with specialized skills have agreed to serve as mentors and/or consultants to pro bono volunteers.
What Our Volunteers Say
"As the capacity of such organizations is reduced due to the limitation of public resources, lawyers bear an even greater burden to ensure access to justice."
“Support of NLS by donation of time, talent, or treasure allows us to serve others while serving the law, a noteworthy goal for all lawyers.”
"In representing our clients, we ‘stand up for justice’ every day. The rules of Professional Conduct require us to do the same on behalf of those who cannot afford a private attorney. That’s why I support NLS."
Transform Lives. Theirs and Yours.
A family in winter facing eviction. A victim of spousal abuse. An elderly couple struggling with debt. When you volunteer with NLS, you help transform lives in crisis. And in doing so, your own life is changed for good. Get involved today.