Volunteer Programs

We welcome and have volunteer opportunities for attorneys, paralegals, law school interns, and other non-attorney positions.

The Pro Bono Program (PBP) recruits and supports the work of volunteer attorneys and law students who provide pro bono legal assistance to low-income individuals and families in Central California. PBP provides volunteers with legal training, mentoring, case management, free malpractice insurance, and other services to facilitate their delivery of free legal services. Learn more about how you can make a difference and advance justice in our communities – join today!

Volunteer attorneys can have bar dues waived, and free MCLE and malpractice insurance

Eligible attorneys licensed in California can apply to the Pro Bono Practice Program of the State Bar of California to maintain active license status for the delivery of volunteer legal services when they are not engaged in private (for profit) law practice. This is an excellent opportunity for retired attorneys and those on extended family leave to do pro bono work without having to pay bar dues! Free MCLE and malpractice insurance is provided. Contact us to learn more.

Why CCLS

For over 50 years, Central California Legal Services (CCLS) has been providing free civil legal services to low-income individuals in Fresno, Tulare, Kings, Merced, Mariposa and Tuolumne Counties—a region where intense poverty exists side by side with unparalleled wealth and abundance. We work to improve the wellbeing of the San Joaquin Valley’s most vulnerable residents through systems-changing advocacy, client education, and legal work that meets individual clients’ immediate needs. We also work closely with agencies and community organizations that share our commitment to support our clients in being their own agents of change.

Our mission at Central California Legal Services is to advance justice and empower people. Our purpose is to fight social injustice, to provide education and representation to the disadvantaged and to maintain access to the legal system.

Attorney and Law Student Pro Bono Opportunities

Learn How to Express Interest

Workers’ Rights Clinic – Virtual

Human Rights | Employment | Immigration & Asylum

Volunteer attorneys can provide free legal information to low-wage workers in the Central Valley to assist local workers with unemployment compensation filings and appeals, minimum wage and overtime violations, failure to pay for work performed, refusal to grant meal and rest breaks, workplace discrimination based upon race, national origin, gender, pregnancy, disability, language, proficiency, and immigration status.

Estimated time for project is 2 hours per clinic held on the third Tuesday of each month from 5:30 – 7:30pm via Zoom and phone.

Liaison to Substantive Teams

Health | Consumer | Children & Families | Housing

The CCLS Substantive Teams (Housing, Health, Family/Immigration/Benefits, and Consumers/Seniors) are looking for volunteer attorney liaisons to advise on case strategy, and assist as needed. Substantive litigation experience is preferred. This opportunity can be performed remotely.

Present a Virtual “Know Your Rights” Video

Health | Litigation | Children & Families | Housing

CCLS offers virtual legal information or “know your rights” topics via YouTube on a variety of topics. Volunteer attorneys and law students are needed to present on topics in a language other than English. Content will be provided by CCLS. Volunteer attorneys and law students with language ability other than English, such as Spanish and Hmong, are highly desired to offer the videos to our entire client populations. CCLS provides all necessary technology.

Limited Scope – Habitability and Reasonable Accommodations Claims

Lawyers | Litigation | Children & Families | Housing

Help tenants prosecute claims under the implied warranty of habitability, and request reasonable accommodations for their disabilities. These cases are limited scope representation and usually require interviewing a client/tenant, preparing/sending a demand letter to the landlord, and advising the client regarding the landlord’s response. Some cases may become full service if the client and volunteer attorney agree. CCLS provides training and support, including letter templates. Law students may assist with attorney supervision.

Research for Affirmative/Impact Litigation

Policy, Advocacy, & Research | Children & Families | Housing

Volunteer attorneys, law students, and law graduates are needed to research legal issues and potential claims for discrimination arising from court practices. These issues may include language access and disability discrimination arising from court practices regarding remote and in-person hearings, as well as other issues. A good fit would be a volunteer with strong research skills. CCLS may provide access to necessary research tools and resources.

Mentor a CCLS Staff Attorney

Training & Education | Children & Families | Housing | Immigration

CCLS’ staff attorneys practice in many areas of substantive law including housing, health, family, immigration, public benefits, consumers, and seniors. Good mentorship is hard to find. Experienced volunteer attorneys are needed to mentor CCLS’ staff attorneys. Volunteer attorneys will assist with case review and case strategy, review and advise on pleadings and motions, and support the attorneys in discovery, negotiation, and trial preparation.

Project First Step – Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

Litigation | Children & Families | Domestic & Sexual Violence Survivors

Project First Step has been an institution at CCLS for over 15 years. Volunteer attorneys assist victims of domestic violence obtain restraining orders against their abusers. This is a limited scope service. Clients typically have an existing EPO or TRO. Volunteer attorneys will interview the client, prepare and file supplemental pleadings if necessary, and prepare for and attend the hearing on the request for DVRO. Training is provided.

Legal First Responders Program

COVID-19 | Natural Disasters | Environment | Families | Health

The Disaster Legal Assistance Collaborative (DLAC) is seeking CA-admitted attorney volunteers for two desk-based pro bono opportunities:

1) California Free Legal Answers:  a statewide online legal assistance program where attorneys answer COVID-19 or disaster-related legal questions and

2) Disaster Legal Assistance Hotline, a statewide legal assistance “hotline” dedicated to wildfire-related questions (volunteers respond to messages, so can initiate the return call at their convenience).

Criminal Record Expungement Clinic – Virtual

Criminal | Attorneys

Description: CCLS in partnership with the Fresno County Clean Slate Program, Root & Rebound, and San Joaquin College of Law Students for Community Advancement are hosting a monthly clinic providing legal information to those with Central Valley convictions seeking expungement/dismissal of their criminal record. Volunteer attorneys will be partnered with a SJCL student to conduct eligibility and complete necessary paperwork to assist the client to file in pro per.

Virtual clinic held every last Thursday of the month from 3-5pm except in November and December, held on Third Thursday.

Interested?

To express interest click the button

under the volunteer opportunity

and complete the form

on Paladin

How to Express Interest

To express interest in one of our volunteer opportunities at Central California Legal Services, you will need to click the button below the opportunity you are interested in. When you do, you will be taken to the opportunity on Paladin. When you arrive, you can express interest without needing to create your own account. If you already have an account, log in with your credentials.

For more information, contact our Pro Bono team by clicking here.

How can you get involved with Central California Legal Services?

Let us count the ways…

  • Connect on Facebook

    We post news and information about our services.
    Central California Legal Services Facebook

  • Volunteer

    Call us and let us know you would like to volunteer or use the contact form at the end of this page.

PBP Special Projects & Trainings

There are many volunteer opportunities for attorneys, law clerks, paralegals, and other professionals, some of which include free training and MCLE credit. All projects can be found at our Central California Legal Services Opportunity List.

The Pro Bono Training Institute provides free online training for legal volunteers.

Q & A

 

Benefits of Volunteering

What insurance courage do I receive?

You can receive free liability and professional malpractice insurance coverage.

What about MCLE?

You can receive discounted or free access to MCLE accredited training seminars.

Will court reporting fees be reimbursed?

You can receive reimbursement for court reporting fees through the Transcript Reimbursement Fund.

What career advancement opportunities will there be?

You will have the opportunity to network with other professionals. For example, you will get access to mentor attorneys, poverty law experts, and other professional volunteers.

What impact will I have?

You will enjoy the satisfaction of helping low-income individuals and families enhance their lives.

What is my obligation?

You are awarded the opportunity to meet your ethical obligations as an attorney.

Interested in volunteering?

For more information or to get involved, contact the Pro Bono Program with the form below.

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