Clinics & Projects

Housing Court Lawyer for the Day

Volunteer attorneys are needed to advise and represent low-income, unrepresented tenants and landlords at the Eastern Housing Court on Wednesday and Thursday mornings and afternoons. Most cases are for evictions.

The Lawyer for the Day (LFD) Program now operates virtually out of the Zoom Desk of Eastern Housing Court’s Housing Specialist Office.  The LFD program allows volunteer attorneys to work with pro se litigants “in court”.  Clients have a court event scheduled for that same day, which is usually mediation, though some may be scheduled for hearings. Clients seek advice or information to prepare for their court event, assistance in preparing pleadings or motions, and/or representation or negotiation.  

  

Volunteer attorneys join the EHC Zoom and are placed into the LFD breakout room with VLP staff (paralegal and staff attorney) to wait for the court to send in a litigant.  While waiting, attorneys can be off-camera and muted to do other work.  A VLP staff attorney is always present and available for mentoring and support.  Volunteers may shadow a VLP staff attorney, or work  individually or in pairs/groups.

 

Schedule: Tuesdays, with timeslots 9:00am – 12:00pm and 1:00pm – 3:00pm/4:00pm; please contact VLP Supervising Attorney, Amy Anthony at aanthony@vlpnet.org if you are interested in other days.

 

Commitment: Training and 3 hours of work, depending on availability. After participating in LFD, volunteers are able, but not required, to extend their limited representation to future court mediations or hearings. The extended limited representation varies and can range from 3-5 hours. No experience is necessary, as VLP provides an assigned staff attorney to provide mentoring and support.

Required Training:

  1. The Massachusetts Law Reform Institute Training
  2. VLP’s Landlord- Tenant 101 Training
  3. Review the Limited Assistance Representation (“LAR”) video and materials found here.  These materials describe best practices for maintaining your limited representation.  After you complete the one-time training, you are certified to take a case for a limited time period or limited purpose (e.g., a court mediation or court hearing).
  4. The Limited Assistance Representation video and materials 

Thank you for your commitment to helping our clients defend themselves against eviction and achieve housing stability.

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.

If you don’t have experience in housing cases, we strongly suggest that you attend one of VLP’s free Housing Law 101 classes before volunteering. Please check our calendar for upcoming training dates.

Housing Lawyer for the Day Manual

Attorneys provide Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) to clients, meaning they are only involved in the case for that day. Not trained in LAR? Watch a training and read required materials.

For more information

Contact paralegal Alec Gubics

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