How can I volunteer?

Volunteer Opportunities for Lawyers

First, review the volunteer opportunities and select one to three areas of interest to you.
Please note:Our areas of immediate need are: bankruptcy, criminal expungement, family, letters to creditors, real estate, and our Spanish Legal Services program (Spanish language skills needed).

Second, complete a Volunteer Attorney Application Form

Third, call our VLN Admin Line (612-752-6655) with some specific opportunities in mind and ask to speak to the person who handles those opportunities.

Fourth, come to one of our regularly-scheduled New Volunteer Orientations (check our event calendar to see scheduled orientation dates and visit our CLE page to register for an orientation).

** Once your volunteer application is submitted, you may start to volunteer! **

Volunteer Opportunities for Attorneys

  Admin Law
  Bankruptcy
  Civil
  Criminal Expungement
  Debtor/Creditor
  Employment
  Family
  Housing
  Real Estate
  Miscellaneous
  Attorney Resources and Research Projects

Volunteer Opportunities for non-lawyers

For most up-to-date listings for other volunteer opportunities, such as paralegals, interpreters, law students, office assistants/clinic assistants, writers, etc., please see our postings on VolunteerMatch.org)

If you are interested in volunteering as an interpreter, click here.

Volunteer Opportunities for Lawyers

Admin Law

  • Phone advice: Typically, one to three clients are scheduled for a phone shift. We provide you with information regarding the client's case, including any pertinent paperwork. You then call the clients and provide legal advice or brief services (e.g., making a phone call on their behalf). If the client's case has merit, you let us know and, if the client is otherwise eligible, we look for an attorney to provide full reprsentation services.
  • Full representation: issues include licensing.unemployment compensation.

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Bankruptcy - immediate openings for experienced attorneys

  • Phone advice and screening: Typically, three to five clients are scheduled for a phone shift. We provide you with information regarding the client's case, including any pertinent paperwork. You then call the clients and provide legal advice and also determine whether they meet the criteria for a full bankruptcy. If they are eligible for full representation services, we look for an attorney to provide that service.
  • Full representation: represent low-income clients in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy proceedings. (For attorneys who request it, we will obtain the client's paperwork in advance.

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Civil

  • In person legal advice (several years of experience in civil law preferred): You are scheduled for a two-hour shift at the Legal Access Point clinic, where most walk-in clients have civil issues. When possible, you also provide brief service (e.g., make a phone call or write a letter for the client). We have assistants at the clinic to get initial data from the clients, find resources for you, and (when appropriate) help the client follow your advice.
  • In person one-on-one workshops: You are scheduled for a one-hour shift at our Consumer Rights Service, where you work one-on-one with a client to complete their court forms (Answers, Garnishment Exemptions, Motions to Vacate, etc). A paralegal or law student assists you in completing the forms (much of which is prepared in advance).
  • Screening cases for merit (several years of experience in civil law preferred): we provide you with information about civil cases and you let our staff know whether the case has enough merit to warrant finding a volunteer attorney to assist the person.
  • Full representation: After a case has been determined to have merit, you would represent the client in civil court. Common issues include: respondent in collection lawsuits; respondent in debt buyer lawsuits; garnishment defense actions; motions to vacate default judgments.

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Criminal expungement - immediate openings

  • In person one-on-one workshops: You are scheduled for a shift at which you work one-on-one with a client to complete their court forms (Petition to Expunge Criminal Records). A paralegal or law student assists you in completing the forms (much of which may be prepared in advance).
  • Screening cases for merit (several years of experience preferred): we provide you with information about civil cases and you let our staff know whether the case has enough merit to warrant finding a volunteer attorney to assist the person.
  • Full representation: After a case has been determined to have merit, you would represent the client in civil court. Common issues include: respondent in collection lawsuits; respondent in debt buyer lawsuits; garnishment defense actions; motions to vacate default judgments.

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Debtor-Creditor - immediate openings

  • Write letters to a client's creditors to stop them from harassing the client - provides clients with immediate relief!

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Employment

  • Phone advice: Typically, three to six clients are scheduled for a phone shift. We provide you with information regarding the client's case, including any pertinent paperwork. You then call the clients and provide legal advice or brief services (e.g., making a phone call on their behalf). If the client's case has merit, you let us know and, if the client is otherwise eligible, we look for an attorney to provide full reprsentation services.
  • Full representation: issues include back pay, wrongful discharge, employee benefits issues.

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Family - immediate openings for experienced attorneys

  • Phone advice: Typically, one to three clients are scheduled for a phone shift. We provide you with information regarding the client's case, including any pertinent paperwork. You then call the clients and provide legal advice or brief services (e.g., making a phone call on their behalf). If the client's case has merit, you let us know and, if the client is otherwise eligible, we look for an attorney to provide full reprsentation services.
  • In person legal advice (several years of experience in family law preferred): You are scheduled for a two-hour shift at the Family Law Clinic. We have assistants at the clinic to get initial data from the clients, find resources for you, and (when appropriate) help the client follow your advice.
  • Screening cases for merit (several years of experience in family law preferred): we provide you with information about civil cases and you let our staff know whether the case has enough merit to warrant finding a volunteer attorney to assist the person on a full rep basis.
  • Full representation: issues include simple divorce (no children), divorces with children, third party custody.

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Housing

  • In person legal advice: You are scheduled for a two-hour shift at the Housing Court Project to meet with clients before they attend their court hearing that day. We have assistants at the clinic to get initial data from the clients, find resources for you, and (when appropriate) help the client follow your advice. You may, if you choose, make an appearance on behalf of the client.
  • Full representation: unlawful detainers, rent escrow.

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Real Estate - immediate openings for experienced attorneys

  • In person legal advice (several years of experience in real estate law preferred): You are scheduled for a one-hour shift at the Real Estate Clinic (located at the Urban League).
  • Full representation: mortgage foreclosure issues; equity stripping; predatory lending.

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Miscellaneous

  • Debtor-creditor: phone advice
  • Criminal Expungements: brief service, full representation
  • Tax: phone advice, full representation

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Volunteer Opportunities for non-lawyers 


Interpreters

Volunteer Interpreter Application Form

Resources for interpreters provided by the Minnesota courts.

Code of Professional Responsibility for Interpreters

Tips for Attorneys Working with Interpreters (Print and give to your attorneys to help them know how to best work with you!)

Working as an Interpreter at VLN

Self-Assessment Tool

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Law Students

Law students manage many of our legal advice clinics and often work directly with clients to help with substantive matters. Please check out our postings with the Minnesota Justice Foundation (MJF) and contact your law school's MJF staff attorney for a referral.

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Paralegals

If you are interested in being an office assistant or legal clinic assistant, please complete the application, which can be found a little lower on this webpage. For other opportunities, check our listing on Volunteer Match.

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Research Projects

Attorney Resources and Research Projects: VLN has opportunities for volunteers interested in developing resoruces. For more information, please see our Resources and Research Project.

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Office Assistants / Clinic Assistants

Office Volunteer and Clinic Assistant Application

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