Volunteer Attorney Nancy Brewer assists a client at the Juvenile Custody and Companionship Clinic.
The Volunteer Lawyers Program is a targeted and meaningful expansion of pro bono legal representation for low-income families in Southwest Ohio. The Legal Aid Societies of Greater Cincinnati and Southwest Ohio represent as many clients as they can, but there are still more people in our community who cannot afford legal help. The VLP matches private attorney volunteers with clients experiencing urgent civil legal issues like bankruptcy, divorce, and eviction.
The time and legal expertise that a private attorney donates to a low-income client is invaluable. When you volunteer, you’re not simply donating hours. You’re securing life-changing outcomes—debt relief, safety from an abusive spouse, housing stability—the client would otherwise struggle to achieve.
The American Bar Association advises our profession:
“Every lawyer, regardless of professional prominence or professional workload, has a responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay, and personal involvement in the problems of the disadvantaged can be one of the most rewarding experiences in the life of a lawyer. The American Bar Association urges all lawyers to provide a minimum of 50 hours of pro bono services annually.”
VLP volunteer lawyers consistently report that they feel connected to their clients. And almost all VLP volunteer lawyers come back for another case—usually two per year.
In addition to the “feel good” aspects of volunteering through the VLP, volunteers can receive pro bono credit or reduced fees from the VLP. Volunteers also have access to periodic trainings and an annual free CLE co-hosted by the Cincinnati Bar Association.
“Doing pro bono legal work through the VLP is a great way for an attorney to make a meaningful impact on the community. It has been rewarding to me, both personally and professionally, to be able to make a positive change in an individual’s life.”
Volunteer Lawyers for the Poor Foundation