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Portland Metro Pro Bono Opportunities

Portland Office Volunteer Lawyer Project
The LASO Portland Regional Office coordinates or collaborates in several pro bono projects including the Bankruptcy Clinic, Clackamas County Bar Association Legal Aid Clinic, Domestic Violence Project, Legal Aid Night Clinic, ProBonoOregon Listserv, Pro Se Assistance Project, Senior Law Project and the Statewide Tax Clinic.


Bankruptcy Clinic. The Oregon State Bar Debtor-Creditor Section and the VLP sponsor this project that provides information and representation to clients who are considering bankruptcy or who are already in U.S. Bankruptcy Court as pro se litigants. The project consists of two components, a class addressing bankruptcy issues and a clinic during which volunteer attorneys each meet with two clients for 30-minute appointments. Anyone may attend the 45-minute class, which is taught by a member of the bankruptcy bar or bench. Volunteer attorneys meet with clients, help them assess whether bankruptcy is appropriate, and if so, provide ongoing representation. The monthly clinic alternates between sites in Beaverton, east Portland and downtown Portland. 12-15 attorneys, one mentor and one speaker are typically scheduled for each clinic. Clinics are held on one Tuesday or Wednesday evening of each month from 6:15-9:00 p.m. An online CLE and written training materials are available at www.oregonadvocates.org


Clackamas County Bar Association Legal Aid Clinic. The CCBA Legal Aid Clinic is a partnership between the Clackamas County Bar Association and LASO. The clinic is held quarterly and is designed to help low-income clients in Clackamas County complete expungement paperwork. Volunteer attorneys meet with clients, help them assess whether they qualify for an expungement and, if so, complete the paperwork. Clinics take place quarterly and are one-time brief service clinics. Training materials are available.


Domestic Violence Project. The Domestic Violence Project (DVP) matches pro bono attorneys with survivors of domestic violence for representation in contested restraining order hearings. These cases tend to have short timelines, involve limited issues and require a court appearance. Attorneys sign up in advance to be available to take a case on a specific date (restraining order hearings are generally scheduled on Mondays and Thursdays). The project provides representation to clients in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties. DVP is an excellent volunteer opportunity for new lawyers, lawyers seeking litigation experience, and attorneys who cannot commit to taking long-term cases. This project covers a discrete area of law and most of the volunteers are not family law practitioners. DVP volunteers are not expected to assist clients with family law issues.


Legal Aid Night Clinic. LASO co-sponsors this evening clinic with Stoel Rives, LLP and Dunn Carney LLP. Clinics are held on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month from 5:30-7:30 p.m at the Standard Insurance Building (downtown Portland). Volunteer attorneys from the two participating law firms screen the cases and provide continuing legal representation to clients with meritorious cases. Two volunteer attorneys are scheduled for each clinic and each attorney meets with up to four clients per clinic. The following issues are referred: consumer law, small claims advice, criminal record expungements, landlord/tenant damage claims, estate planning, and uncontested guardianships.


ProBonoOregon Listserv. Legal service offices around the state post cases to this listserv every Thursday. Each program posts only one email per week. Postings are sent to individual attorneys or pro bono coordinators for internal distribution within firms. An attorney who is interested in accepting a pro bono opportunity contacts the listing office for full case information. Listings include the type of case and a brief description of the issue and do not include highly identifying facts or party names. Conflict information is discussed with interested attorneys when they contact the listing office. This project allows pro bono attorneys to take a pro bono case when it fits best with their schedule. Sign up for the listserv on the legal aid advocate website, www.oregonadvocates.org.


Pro Se Assistance Project. Volunteer attorneys provide limited assistance to clients requiring discrete legal advice or document review. Attorneys are scheduled to meet with three clients, each for a 45-minute appointment. Clinics are held from 2:30 to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Legal Aid. Attorneys respond to discrete family law questions and/or review documents prepared by unrepresented litigants. Attorneys are NOT expected to provide ongoing representation to clients and clients sign a retainer agreement detailing the limited scope of the attorney-client relationship. Volunteer attorneys must have family law experience to volunteer for this project.


PROSAP Facilitation Clinic. Attorneys with little (or no) family law experience can volunteer for this portion of the Clinic, by helping clients complete their pro se documents. Once the paperwork is completed, clients attend a “regular” PROSAP clinic to meet with an experienced family law attorney. Facilitation Clinics take place on Wednesdays from 2 to 4 p.m. at Legal Aid.


Senior Law Project. The Senior Law Project (SLP) began in 1978 and is the VLP’s largest project, with over 25 legal clinics per month. Volunteer lawyers meet with clients who are 60 or over (or who are married to someone 60 or over) at nine senior center locations in Multnomah County. They provide 30-minute consultations, on any civil legal issues, for up to six clients per clinic. All clients 60 or over are eligible for free 30-minute consultations, regardless of their income. SLP volunteers provide continuing pro bono services for only those clients who meet VLP financial eligibility requirements. The VLP sponsors a monthly Elder Law Discussion Group to provide information and support.