In 1982, the Cincinnati Bar Association and the Legal Aid Society of Cincinnati joined to form the Volunteer Lawyers for the Poor Foundation (VLPF). The role of the VLPF was to provide oversight and raise funds for a new pro bono effort: the Volunteer Lawyers Project
The Volunteer Lawyers Project was created to leverage representation by pro bono attorneys to help meet the a steadily growing need for legal services for low-income resident’s that was far outstripping Legal Aid’s limited capacity. Over the years, many other local bar associations have joined to support this effort. Today, the Volunteer Lawyers Project serves as pro bono arm of, and is co-sponsored by, the Cincinnati and Butler, Clermont, Clinton, and Warren County Bar Associations. Recruitment and training of Volunteer Attorneys are important components of the effort as well.
Legal Aid Society staff conduct intake screening of applicants and refer eligible clients to volunteer attorneys. Legal Aid attorneys and private attorneys provide back-up to volunteer attorneys on substantive matters. Legal Aid paralegal staff also provides support for the VLP’s Divorce and Wills Clinics. Legal Aid administrative, management, and accounting staff also support the VLP. In 2012, Legal Aid’s in-kind contribution to the VLP was $2,399,895.
Through the solicitation of law firm, foundation, and individual contributions, the Volunteer Lawyers for the Poor Foundation raises approximately $120,000 per year to support the VLP.
For more information on what it means to become a Volunteer Lawyer, please click here.