The Suffolk Pro Bono Foundation, working in concert with Nassau Suffolk Law Services’ Pro Bono Project, provides free civil legal assistance to the poor and disabled in our community. If you are an admitted attorney, you can help! There are several ways you can volunteer.
Representation: The greatest need for services are in the following areas: Bankruptcy, Foreclosure (Settlement Conference Assistance), Matrimonial and Family Court (child support), Guardianship, and Veterans’ issues. Clients are carefully screened to confirm their financially eligibility for free legal services. Each client is then paired with a volunteer attorney with the requisite level of experience needed for the client’s particular legal issues. Attorneys can receive support from Nassau Suffolk Law Services in the form of law student assistance, lawyer mentoring, language interpreters, and Informa Pauperis certification. Malpractice insurance coverage is provided for the pro bono case, along with CLE credit, and tuition vouchers for Suffolk Law Academy programs once the case is completed.
Mentoring: Attorneys new to a particular practice often need the guidance of a seasoned attorney. Volunteer mentors provide valuable support to a pro bono attorney including phone consultation, pleadings review, and general guidance.
Screening: Nassau Suffolk Law Services often utilizes the assistance of volunteers to screen pro bono applicant calls. Phone interviews with prospective clients are made from the Islandia office and volunteer schedules are flexible. Training is provided.
Attorneys Emeritus: The Pro Bono Project is an approved host organization for the Attorney Emeritus Program. In 2010, the Administrative Board of the Courts established "attorney emeritus" as a new status for attorneys in New York. An attorney emeritus is an attorney in good standing, who is at least 55 years old, and has practiced law for at least ten years. The Attorney Emeritus Program seeks to connect experienced attorneys (not necessarily retired) to volunteer opportunities with legal service organizations and court-sponsored programs that address poverty-related issues. Attorneys agree to perform a minimum of 60 hours of pro bono work during the two-year attorney registration period and the Pro Bono Project provides the attorney emeritus with malpractice insurance and up to 15 CLE credits in exchange for his/her pro bono work. Interested participants can register at :https://fmpub1.nycourts.gov/fmi/iwp/cgi?-db=NEWCIV_AEP_ME&-loadframes and should call the Pro Bono Project for a choice of assignments.
Those wishing to learn more about how they can serve as a volunteer attorney should contact Ellen Krakow, Pro Bono Project Coordinator at Nassau/Suffolk Law Services: (631) 232-2400 ext. 3323 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also fill out the Register to Become A Pro Bono Volunteer form on the SCBA website.