With the help of pro bono Call4Law volunteers who would spend just 45-60 minutes on the phone with a client, SLS can reach more low income people and give them the first stage of service that they need.
Mediation provides an opportunity for parties to work out their custody, visitation, and communication disputes. The Children’s Law Center provides a male/female team of mediators consisting of an attorney and a mental health worker, both of whom are very familiar with the family court process. The team meets with both parties to introduce the program and identify the issues to be resolved.
Successful mediation can help parents change their perspective from adversarial to cooperative, thereby taking the conflict out of court proceedings and reducing the stress of repeated court appearances. In addition to mediating specific issues, we give parents the co-parenting tools necessary to communicate more effectively with one another. This in turn helps to decrease the conflict level to which their child is exposed. We are committed to protecting children from the harm caused by high conflict custody and visitation disputes.
Mediation helps children by lessening the conflict in their lives. It not only helps resolve the immediate disagreements, but also helps participants learn new ways of dealing with future problems. Clients benefit from the assistance of both a legal and a mental health professional without the stress, expense and time commitment of repeated court appearances. Clients can come back in the future for more help if needed, rather than going back to court.
Low income people are often inundated with calls from aggressive debt collectors. They are often frightened into paying amounts that they can’t afford to collectors- even though there are state and federal laws that protect them.
Low income clients are always vulnerable to losing their basic shelter through eviction or foreclosure. Any kind of emergency can disrupt their family finances. It is very hard to recover from this situation. Many clients don’t know that you can try to stop these actions or that they can request more time to gather their resources.
Connecticut is home to an overwhelming number of immigrants in removal proceedings who desperately need legal advice and representation. These immigrants face seemingly insurmountable obstacles when placed in removal proceedings or when proving their asylum claims, including language barriers, and the complexities of U.S. immigration law and court procedures. Those with limited financial resources are at the highest risk of being deported. As a result, many are separated from their families here in the United States and forced to return to places where they may face persecution and even death based upon their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
We provide access to justice. Without our legal counsel and representation, the promise of "justice for all" is an empty phrase. Many low-income people are unable to represent themselves adequately in legal matters or even recognize that their problem has a legal component for which they can obtain assistance. We help them make informed decisions, resolve their civil legal problem, and provide them with the necessary information to take action in the future.
A nonprofit organization, like any other corporation, regularly needs business legal advice to understand the complex web of overlapping state and federal regulations by which it is governed. Ongoing access to legal advice is necessary to ensure that a nonprofit 1) operates within the law; and 2) makes effective business decisions in support of its programs and clients.
Unfortunately, most nonprofits lack the funds to hire lawyers without using resources needed to deliver community services. Even in those cases where lawyers serve on nonprofits’ boards, those attorneys generally do not have the legal expertise to address the full spectrum of corporate legal needs a nonprofit organization may face. The Pro Bono Partnership addresses this issue by recruiting business and transactional attorneys who represent a broad range of business legal expertise to provide pro bono legal assistance.
The Pro Bono Expulsion Project seeks to address the unmet legal need of meaningful representation for low income students facing significant loss of time in school. Despite the state and federal protections the majority of low income children go unrepresented at these proceedings.
These are low-wage workers who often do not have savings or other resources to fall back on if they are not paid. Without timely payment of their wages they cannot fulfill their and their family’s subsistence needs. Their housing is at risk and their ability to feed their family is compromised.
University of Connecticut School of Law Tax Clinic*
Without the assistance, many low income taxpayers would not have the tax refunds, wages or social security benefits necessary to pay their ordinary and necessary living expenses, or would not be able to correct the amount of tax they owe
High school drop-outs have a higher incidence of incarceration and are more likely to be life-long victims of poverty than their graduating peers. Educators report that the best predictor of whether a student will become a drop-out is their history of school attendance. Truancy is frequently an early warning signal of stress affecting their family, and also their first encounter with the judicial system. The Project matches middle school-aged students with attorney volunteers who provide early intervention before truancy-related problems become intractable.
CVLC's clients are actively engaged in treatment and recovery from serious mental illness and substance abuse. While they are doing the hard work of personal transformation, we provide support to alleviate the stress of legal problems like criminal records, outstanding traffic violations, or a dispute with a landlord, which can derail recovery.
Even though the Volunteer Attorney Program does not income qualify the participants, these parties do not have access to competent legal counsel. Many have lost their jobs or are under-employed and are forced to make the choice between paying their mortgage or hiring an attorney. The economic turndown has created a new class of indigent self-represented parties, many of whom have some means to support their families, but have little or no access to discretionary funds.
They want to be compliant, but cannot afford a paid preparer. They do not know how to prepare a tax return and need assistance. Often these clients fall prey to service providers that wish to take advantage of them.