Volunteer

Volunteer

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers provide a valuable service to our community and extend the Legal Aid Society’s capacity to provide justice for all. We seek help from law firms, individual attorneys, law students, law school graduates who are not yet attorneys, retired attorneys and paralegals. The legal issues of our clients are diverse, so we can refer cases that fit your experience and desire.

We welcome volunteers who are:

Private Attorneys

Private attorneys can participate in either our Private Attorney Involvement (PAI) Program or the Attorney Emeritus Program. Volunteers receive:

  • Pro Bono CLE Credit: one CLE credit for every two hours of pro bono work.
  • Insurance: professional liability insurance coverage.
  • Support: training, and other free supports.
  • Recognition: for their good deeds in our newsletter, Legal Aid Matters. (add link to newsletter).
  • Reimbursement: for out of pocket expenses, up to $200.
How it works:
  1. Sign up using the online registration form.
  2. After you’ve signed up, you will be contacted when there is a case you’ve expressed interest in, to see if you can accept the referral at that time.
  3. If you can accept the case, we will send you information about the case and ask the client to contact you.
Kinds of volunteer opportunities

Do you enjoy negotiating or litigating? You could help a client with a housing issue or obtain social security or unemployment benefits. Rather not spend your time in Court? Many clients need transactional help, such as preparing a will, health care proxy or deed. Attorneys are needed to act on clients’ behalf to lift or modify a wage garnishment or take care of a frozen bank account. If you don’t want to handle case files, there are pro se divorce clinics or advice clinics. See the volunteer sign-up form for a complete list. Other opportunities include:

Advice & Brief Service: Attorney for the Day, Closing the Gap, drafting of wills and other advanced directives, Albany County Family Court Help Center, pro se divorce clinics, providing advice to veterans, as well as members of the LGBTQ community regarding their civil legal matters (i.e. SSI/SSD, veterans benefits, child support and custody, housing).

Attorney For The Day: Clients are provided with advice at their first appearance on a housing matter in Albany City Court. The program is currently held on the first and third Fridays of each month and lasts approximately two hours. Volunteer attorneys receive their credit through the Legal Aid Society or the Albany County Bar Association, depending on which day the attorneys volunteer.

Closing The Gap: Connects attorneys with clients in remote rural areas with housing or consumer law issues, for whom legal assistance would be impossible due to geographic limitations. Assistance will be via phone and a user-friendly computer interface that is being developed now. Attorneys will prepare online fillable housing and consumer law documents for the client in the comfort of their own offices. Training videos available here:

Part 1: housing issues

Closing The Gap 1
Runtime
49:31
View count
31

Part 2: financial issues

Closing The Gap 2
Runtime
54:18
View count
17

Part 3: using the online interface

Closing The Gap 3
Runtime
51:00
View count
12

Albany County Family Court Help Center

Seeks volunteer lawyers and law students to assist pro se litigants in Family Court. Click here to view the volunteer training, which was held on April 23, 2014 at Albany Law School.

Private Attorney Involvement Program

Pick projects that work for you: volunteer options range from one-time advice meetings to extended representation of a client in variety of civil matters.

Fill out the volunteer registration form and contact Michele Sleight, Director of PAI, msleight@lasnny.org

You may report 10 pro bono CLE credits towards the total required 24 CLE credits during an OCA reporting period.

Attorney Emeritus Program

Experience Counts! Be an Attorney Emeritus with Legal Aid.

Attorneys over 55 years of age with at least 10 years’ experience can volunteer as an attorney emeritus. Attorneys emeritus can explore new fields of law with free training provided by LASNNY. Use your experience and skills to assist your low income neighbors and have an immediate impact while earning 15 CLE credits per reporting period.

You must be at least 55 years of age.

You must have been practicing law for a minimum of 10 years.

First register as an AEP

Once you are registered with the NYS Unified Court System, fill out the LASNNY registration form

If you are retired and not actively practicing, you
are exempt from the biennial registration fee.

You
 may report up to 15 pro bono credits in a reporting period

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Law Students and Law Graduates

Complete your 50 hours of pro bono service and build a strong foundation for your legal career with the Legal Aid Society. Students could work in the following areas of law:

  • Disability Advocacy
  • Domestic Violence and Matrimonial Law
  • Housing
  • Eviction Defense
  • Foreclosure and many more

Students will receive direct supervision from an attorney, develop networking contacts, and research and writing skills for future employers. Legal Aid offers flexible scheduling and has several offices where students can be placed.

Click here to see current volunteer opportunities for students and graduates.

When applying please:

  1. Complete the Application linked here, or the mobile-friendly application here.
  2. Complete the Demographic Survey linked here.

Contacts:

For more information about volunteer opportunities please contact:

PAI:

Michele Sleight, PAI Director: (serving Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington Counties) 518-689-6322, or msleight@lasnny.org

Ariel AhrPAI Coordinator: 518-533-5934 or aahr@lasnny.org

Linda Larue, PAI Paralegal: (serving St. Lawrence County and St. Regis Reservation) 315-386-4586 ext. 14 or llarue@lasnny.org

AEP and Law Students and Graduate Students:

Shaniqua M. Burke, Staff Attorney/Pro Bono Innovator: 518-587-5188 ext. 446 or sburke@lasnny.org

Other Volunteers

Wendy Wahlberg, Deputy Director in Albany 800-462-2922 ext. 313 or wwahlberg@lasnny.org

Peter Racette, Deputy Director in Plattsburgh, 518.563.4022 ext. 118 or pracette@lasnny.org

Upcoming Trainings and Volunteer Events

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