Clinics & Projects

Civil Appeals Clinic

Hosted by VLP and The Association of Pro Bono Counsel (APBCO), the Civil Appeals Clinic helps low-income, self-represented litigants interested in filing an appeal. VLP with Boston-based members of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel (APBCO) operate the pro bono Civil Appeals Clinic.

 

Attorneys provide Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) to clients, meaning they are only involved in the case for that dayNot trained in LAR? Watch a training and read required materials.

How it Works

  • A paralegal or law student screens interested clients for eligibility
  • A VLP attorney matches the client with a volunteer attorney.
  • The volunteer attorney may:
    • Assess whether a final judgment exists and calculate any deadlines
    • Give general advice concerning appellate issues and procedure
    • Advise the litigant in making the strategic decision to appeal or to continue seeking relief in the trial court
    • Provide and assist with self-help materials, other resources, forms and motions.
  • Volunteer attorneys also assess whether a litigant’s case should be reviewed for further representation. They consider whether the appeal is meritorious, falls within the VLP priority issue areas, has broad-based implications for low-income people and/or constitutes a legal error.  If so, the volunteer may recommend that the case be sent for a second layer of merit-based screening by experienced appellate attorneys and legal services experts.

We have forms, files, reference materials and other necessary items for volunteer attorneys.

Benefits of Volunteering

  • Limited Assistance Representation means you start and finish with your client on the same day; no greater commitment with court proceedings or legal services needed.
  • Mentorship: Our newer attorneys learn from more experienced attorneys, and more seasoned lawyers get the chance to mentor and guide.
  • Networking: Meet fellow attorneys in your area of practice and get connected with other legal professionals.

The Volunteer Lawyers Project provides primary malpractice insurance for all pro bono work.

 

Civil Appeal training before volunteering

In advance of the clinic, please feel free to review the video of last year’s training below.

 

 

Video: https://vimeo.com/163412920

Password: 20166

 

 

In addition, please refer to the Self-Help Guides page of the Appeals Court website. Though the page is geared towards litigants, this information provides good background for advising.

 

If you are interested in volunteering for the clinics or to review cases for appellate merit, please contact Steve Russo at srusso@vlpnet.org. 

 

If you are a lawyer in an APBCO firm and are interested in volunteering at the Clinic, please contact the pro bono coordinator in your firm.