VLSP is primarily a volunteer-based organization that assists clients in two ways:
- Referring clients to attorneys for direct representation. VLSP’s pro bono cases awaiting placement can be found HERE.
- Providing legal advice and form completion services at one of our legal clinics
Volunteers are welcome to choose the pro bono opportunity that best suits their needs and interests. VLSP also seeks volunteers to provide support to VLSP's staff attorneys. Our goal is to make volunteering a satisfying experience that will work within your busy schedule.
VLSP’s Volunteer Opportunities include:
New! Federal Pro Se Assistance Program
Description: Volunteer attorneys provide limited scope legal assistance to pro se litigants in civil matters in Federal Court. This program is appropriate for experienced federal court litigators or appellate attorneys. Must be admitted to the U.S. District Court Western District of New York. For more information, contact Karen Chung at email@example.com or (585) 295-5709
Time: noon to 2:00 pm
Frequency: once a week
Location: Federal Building, 100 State Street, Room 2160, Rochester, NY14614
The Family Law Remote Assistance Project
Description: Volunteer attorneys meet with clients via webcam to answer questions about Family Court Petitions. No ongoing representation. For more information, contact attorney Scott MacPherson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (585) 295-5712.
Frequency: Once or Twice a month
Location: You can webcam from anywhere you choose.
Pro Se Divorce Clinic
Description: Volunteer attorneys review draft Judgment Rolls with pro se clients, one on one, for minor changes and accuracy of documents. Some family law experience preferred. For more information contact attorney Mary Beth Conway, at (585) 295-5707
Time/Frequency: Ongoing dates and times
Location: VLSP, One West Main Street, 5th Floor, or Hall of Justice
Family Law Clinic
Description: Discuss feasibility of filing Family Court custody or visitation petitions. Assist in completing petition forms as needed. New volunteers are paired with experienced volunteers for training purposes. No family law experience necessary. For more information contact attorney Mary Beth Conway, at (585) 295-5707 or email@example.com.
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Frequency: Twice monthly
Location: VLSP, One West Main Street, 5th Floor
Willow Domestic Violence Center Clinic
Description: Provide an overview of VLSP programs and services, and answer questions on matrimonial and consumer issues. Assist clients completing intake sheets. No family law experience necessary. For more information contact attorney Mary Beth Conway, at (585) 295-5707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time: 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Frequency: First Monday of the month
Location: Willow Domestic Violence Center
Debt Management Advice Clinic: Group Education Clinic
Description: Experienced bankruptcy attorneys conduct a PowerPoint presentation addressing common debt problems for 20-30 preregistered individuals. Volunteers are needed to assist with client registration. For more information, please contact attorney
Karen Chung at (585) 295-5709 or email@example.com.
Time: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Frequency: Every other month
Location: Federal Courthouse, 100 State Street, Rochester, NY
Debt Management Advice and Consultation Clinic: Individual Counseling Clinic
Description: Volunteer attorneys review clients’ financial questionnaires, with clients individually, and advise whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief is advisable. New volunteers receive reference materials and are paired with experienced volunteers. The Debt Management Advice and Consultation Clinic is a popular group volunteer option for corporate law departments and firms. No collections/bankruptcy experience necessary. For more information, please contact attorney Karen Chung at (585) 295-5709 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time: 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.
Frequency: Every other month
Location: VLSP, One West Main Street, 5 th Floor
Description: Volunteer attorneys provide information about a business/legal topic of interest to small business micro-entrepreneurs.
Previous clinics were conducted on the topics of Choice of Entity, Financing, Intellectual Property & Taxation for Small Businesses. For more information, contact attorney Vasanthi Pillai at vpillai @vlsprochester.org or (585) 295-5703
Description: Volunteer Attorneys assist clients with reviewing information and form filling. For more information, contact attorney Vasanthi Pillai at vpillai @vlsprochester.org or (585) 295-5703.
VLSP is anticipating a need for additional volunteers to assist with immigration matters. If you would like to volunteer, please complete the survey form HERE. Thank you.
Description: Attorneys at Harter, Secrest and Emery LLP and the University of Rochester Office of Counsel prepare wills, health care proxies, powers of attorney and other documents for elderly and disabled clients living in Rochester Housing Authority
buildings. For more information, contact attorney Ann Williams at email@example.com or (585) 295-5708.
Lawyer of the Morning
Description: Volunteer attorneys meet with tenants who live in the City of Rochester and are facing eviction proceedings. Volunteer attorneys attempt to negotiate an appropriate settlement with the landlords’ attorneys. A Legal Aid attorney is available in court for
consultation on case analysis and negotiation strategy, and will assume responsibility for cases that cannot be settled. This collaborative effort between VLSP and Legal Aid of Rochester is a great opportunity for newly admitted or transactional attorneys to gain courtroom experience. For more information, contact Sheila Gaddis at firstname.lastname@example.org or (585) 295-5700.
Time: 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Frequency: Monday through Friday
Location: Rochester City Court
Tenant Town and Village Court Pro Bono Program
Description: Attorneys at Appellate Division, Fourth Department, meet with tenants facing eviction proceedings and attempt to negotiate an appropriate settlement with the landlords’ attorneys. This program focuses on eviction proceedings filed in town and village courts in Monroe County. For more information, contact Karen Chung at email@example.com or (585)295-5709.
Frequency: Twice a Month
Location: Irondequoit Town Court
This program was made possible, in part, by a grant from The New York Bar Foundation.
The 7th Judicial District Help Center & The Rundel Library Branch Help Center
Description: Many of these individuals lack the necessary information about the courts and their procedures to adequately access justice. Volunteers provide procedural and legal information to unrepresented litigants at the 7th Judicial District Law Library. A VLSP staff member is always present to help you whenever you need it. For more information, contact attorney Scott MacPherson at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (585)2955712.
Sign up to volunteer at the Help Center HERE
Time: Varies throughout each week, 1.5hr shifts
Frequency: The Help Centers are Open during each week.
Location: Hall of Justice, 99 Exchange Blvd & Rundel Building, Central Library
Translation and Interpretation
Volunteer to provide translation or interpretation services. The need is most urgent in the areas of Spanish and American Sign Language.
Share Your Expertise
Act as co-counsel or mentor attorneys who have accepted case referrals in your practice area. Serve as a CLE panelist. Post materials and update VLSP’s library on probono.net. No IT experience necessary.
Other Volunteer Opportunities:
- Consumer -e.g. Liens on bank accounts
- CPS Records Expungement
- Estate Administration for estates of limited value
- Foreclosure prevention
- Habitat for humanity closings and land contracts
- Landlord/Tenant problems other than eviction
- Name Changes
- Real Estate -e.g. Deed Transfers
- Tax matters with IRS
- Tort Defense -defendants only
- Unemployment insurance benefits
Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County has been certified by the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board as an Accredited Provider of continuing legal education in the State of New York.
VLSP offers volunteer opportunities to law students who wish to donate their time and learn about the pro bono legal services community by:
- Assisting advocates with legal research and drafting court documents
- Authoring materials for use in new substantive areas of representation and developing pro se materials for client use
- Attending court with our advocates
- Assisting VLSP staff and clients at clinics
- Working with pro se clients on debt resolution, preparation of health care directives, and estate planning
If you are interested in becoming one of our volunteers, please contact Sheila A. Gaddis, Esq., Executive Director, at email@example.com or 585-232-3051.