Support and Expectations

PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE/LEGAL MALPRACTICE INSURANCE

The Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) maintains professional liability insurance to cover VLP attorneys working on cases referred to them by the VLP.

If you have completed work on a case referred to you by the VLP, and you wish to perform additional work on the same client’s behalf, you must notify the VLP and have the additional work assigned to you by the VLP, or the VLP’s insurance will not cover you for subsequent work on that client’s behalf.

BACK-UP SUPPORT / RESEARCH

In most cases, Legal Aid provides substantive back-up support from a Legal Aid staff attorney with experience in the particular area of law at issue. If required, additional back-up support may be provided by experienced Volunteer Attorneys in private practice in the area.

The VLP posts research and sample pleadings on its web site. Please go to www.vlpcincinnati.org, to register for access to this support.

REDUCED-FEE CASES

In certain types of cases, the Volunteer Lawyers Project can refer reduced-fee cases after an attorney has accepted referral of two pro bono cases per calendar year. If interested in receiving reduced-fee referrals, a Volunteer Attorney should contact VLP managing Attorney Anne Lucas .  Unless a reduced fee is agreed to in advance of the referral, no reduced fee will be paid. NOTE: the reduced-fee payment is made by the VLP to the Volunteer Attorney; based on the published Schedule. The Volunteer Attorney may not seek a payment from the client.

The current Schedule of Reduced Fee payments is here. Please note that reduced fee payments are not automatic after referral of two pro bono cases; an attorney must request in advance that the referral be considered a Reduced-Fee case referral.

COURT COSTS, LITIGATION EXPENSES, and FILING FEES

The Volunteer Lawyers Project is committed to utilizing its resources to support its mission of securing legal representation for low-income clients who cannot otherwise obtain counsel, but funds for costs and expenses are limited. In most cases, VLP clients are eligible for waiver of court costs, including filing fees. A request for a Fee Waiver and Poverty Affidavit should be filed, when appropriate. Samples are available from the VLP here.

The VLP may advance payment of costs and/or other necessary litigation expenses. In all cases, the Volunteer Attorney should determine the client’s ability to pay costs, and advise the client of his or her responsibility for costs if the client is able to pay. The VLP may pay filing fees to initiate a court case, subject to possible repayment by the client. The VLP does not ordinarily pay fees to initiate administrative (e.g. visa) proceedings.

If the client does not have the ability to pay costs or other litigation expenses, the VLP may pay or advance those expenses on the client’s behalf. Covered expenses can include:

  • Costs for adoption or custody investigations. The VLP has arrangements for reduced charges for these investigations, so please contact the VLP prior to contracting for this work;
  • Medical reports or examinations;
  • Expert fees (requires advance approval from the VLP Managing Attorney);
  • Reasonable deposition costs;
  • Litigation filing fees;
  • Costs for filing reasonable and necessary counter-claims;
  • Court costs;
  • Other reasonable out-of-pocket expenses, not to include office overhead costs.

Once the Volunteer Attorney determines that the costs cannot be waived or paid by the client, a request for payment, providing details, should be sent to VLP Managing Attorney Anne Lucas.

Questions about the reasonableness of a cost or expense can be discussed with Managing Attorney Anne Lucas prior to expending the money.

In situations in which the client receives money as the result of successful representation, the client is expected to repay costs and expenses expended on the client’s behalf.

ATTORNEY FEES CASES

Although the Volunteer Lawyers Project expects Volunteer Attorneys to represent VLP clients on a pro bono or VLP reduced-fee basis (fee paid by the VLP), there are certain limited situations where this may not apply:

  • A VLP attorney may collect a fee in a case referred through the VLP, as long as the fee is collected from the opposing party. This should be discussed with the client at the time representation begins, and an agreement entered into between the client and the VLP attorney.

 

  • If the VLP refers a case and the Volunteer Attorney is willing to accept the case on a contingency basis, the attorney should notify the VLP of that fact. Then the Attorney and the client are free to enter into a private representation agreement. Under those circumstances, the VLP case referral will be closed, the Attorney will not be covered by the VLP’s professional liability/legal malpractice policy, and the VLP will not pay any expenses associated with the representation.

Continuing Legal Education (CLE)

The Volunteer Lawyers Project periodically offers free CLE Programs to Volunteer Attorneys who accept two or more pro bono case referrals from the VLP in a calendar year. The CLE topics generally address issues that arise in the course of representing clients referred by the VLP. For find out what kinds of cases may be involved, click here.

Interpretation and Translation Services

The VLP has made arrangements for volunteer attorneys to use the services of Affordable Language Services when working with clients who do not speak English as a first language. The VLP pays all of the costs. Volunteer attorneys are provided information about how to access these services at the time non-English speaking clients are referred.

2016 Annual Report

2016 Annual Report

Volunteer Lawyers For the Poor Foundation 2016 Annual Report

WHY I VOLUNTEER

Our volunteers tell us what a rich and rewarding experience VLP has been for them. We want to share those stories with you. Click to see their stories and their results.

Anonymous

“I would say that this service is wonderful. I’ll always appreciate it”. David E. (Attorney obtained expungement so that he...
2013-12-05T19:26:27+00:00
“I would say that this service is wonderful. I’ll always appreciate it”. David E. (Attorney obtained expungement so that he could get a job)

Robin B.

“I always heard of good like this, but experiencing this good is a blessing”. Robin B. (home saved from foreclosure,...
2013-12-05T19:27:02+00:00
“I always heard of good like this, but experiencing this good is a blessing”. Robin B. (home saved from foreclosure, Attorney Daniel Temming

Angela R.

“This service was a great help for my daughter who is handicapped. We really appreciated the help we got”. Angela...
2013-12-05T19:27:35+00:00
“This service was a great help for my daughter who is handicapped. We really appreciated the help we got”. Angela R. (Attorney Paul Balash assisted disabled adult with landlord tenant dispute

Hazel F.

“He was kind, professional, and informative; I was treated like a Kennedy or Bush family member. Now that’s saying a...
2013-12-05T19:28:07+00:00
“He was kind, professional, and informative; I was treated like a Kennedy or Bush family member. Now that’s saying a lot”. Hazel F. (Attorney Charles Arkin assisted client with Will and other advanced planning documents)

Doris S.

“Your organization does a great job and I am very humbled to have you as my lawyer. Doris S. (Attorney...
2013-12-05T19:28:37+00:00
“Your organization does a great job and I am very humbled to have you as my lawyer. Doris S. (Attorney Thomas Gruber assisted disabled client with a credit card debt issue
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