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In-office Volunteers (CLS, GHLA, NHLAA)

Name of Non-Profit Agency: 
Legal Services Offices*

Connecticut Legal Services, Inc.
Avery Lupia, Development Assistant

Greater Hartford Legal Aid
Jill Davies

New Haven Legal Assistance
Alexis Smith
Executive Director

Why is this assistance important to these clients? 
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.
Who are the clients? 
Low-income people facing civil legal crises.
What legal strategies do the pro bono lawyers use to assist the clients? 
Volunteers will meet with clients to develop a legal analysis of their problems; decide on appropriate legal course of action, provide in-depth legal counseling, and/or court or administrative representation.
If the pro bono attorney will be appearing for the client, in what court or other forum will that appearance be? 
Varies depending on the individual case.
What are the outcome goals of this assistance? 
The primary goal of all of the assistance we provide is the resolution of the client’s problem.
What time commitment is required to do this pro bono work? 
Minimum of one day \ week to volunteer in-office.
Where is the pro bono work done? (For example, at a legal aid office or at the pro bono attorney's office.) 

CLS has service offices in Willimantic, New London, New Britain, Waterbury, Bridgeport and Stamford.

Give a short (1-paragraph) case example: 
Some in-house volunteers are trained and supervised to handle federal disability benefit appeals. Others help elderly clients with nursing home or consumer problems. Others represent people being evicted from their apartments who have defenses to the eviction; others represent victims of domestic violence. John and Katherine are an elderly married couple and their only sources of income are John’s pension and social security, which are deposited into a joint bank account. When a judge ordered Katherine to pay a debt from years earlier, the creditor executed on the couple’s joint bank account. Katherine filled out a form to have the income from John’s pension and social security payments—the couple’s only income—exempt from the execution as specified by law. They were granted a hearing. The judge at the hearing asked a lawyer in the courtroom to help the creditor and Katherine and John come to an agreement. Under the agreement, Katherine and John agreed to pay over $1,500 plus additional fees. Feeling that this agreement was unfair, John and Katherine contacted CLS for guidance. Their CLS attorney reviewed their case, and helped John and Katherine request the return of their money. When the courts granted John and Katherine a second hearing, they had the assistance of their CLS attorney. The judge ruled in favor of John and Katherine and ordered that their money be returned to them.
If no How are those without full admission supervised to ensure avoidance of issues regarding unlicensed practice?: 
Volunteers work under attorney supervision. Appearance in court on behalf of clients requires full admission.
If it is important that a pro bono lawyer already has particular legal background or training, please describe. 
What training is provided to pro bono lawyers doing this work? 
Training is tailored to the type of volunteer work and the background of the volunteer attorney.
Who provides the training? 
Legal services attorneys in that office.
Where is the training held? How long does the training last? 
Training is help on-site and is tailored to the individual volunteer attorney the type of work the attorney will be doing.
Who are the adverse parties (if any) for this type of work (for example, landlords, spouses, banks, government entities)? 
Case-dependent; can be government entities or private parties including landlords, banks, and abusive spouses.
At what time of day is the pro bono work done (example evening clinic)?: 
Normal business hours.
Does this pro bono work require full admission to practice in Connecticut? 
Can the training be attended remotely (webinar or teleconference)? 
When is the next training (after October 1) and how often is training offered? 

We train volunteer attorneys as needed.

This organization is a member of the Connecticut Pro Bono Network.