Legal Unit Internships
We offer volunteer opportunities for students, law students, paralegals, and non-legal professionals.
Bankruptcy, Consumer, Employment Unit
The Bankruptcy Unit assists clients in gaining a fresh legal start through bankruptcy discharge. Our staff represents clients seeking relief from debt through consumer bankruptcy under both Chapter 7 (liquidation) and Chapter 13 (wage earner) of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Some of our most vulnerable clients have a difficult time applying for bankruptcy assistance because of the amount of information and paperwork required to complete their file. VLP holds a Bankruptcy Clinic once a month to assist low-income clients with the process of completing our application and gathering the required documents. Volunteer attorneys, paralegals and law students staff these clinics, and in return receive a valuable introduction to bankruptcy practice.
Interns, students and paralegals assist potential clients with document and information collection. They help gather documents and provide the information needed to prepare cases for pro bono referral. Some examples include helping obtain and organize credit reports, income and benefit information, asset information and tax returns, as well as completing counseling and education requirements. Interns also assist staff in preparing bankruptcy petitions and attend Section 341 Meetings of Creditors.
The Consumer Law Unit handles matters including debt collection defense, Fair Debt Collection violations, Fair Credit Reporting violations, credit repair, and bankruptcy discharge violations. Much of this work is done through the Fair Debt Collection Lawyer for the Day clinics. These clinics are operated at the Boston Municipal Court, Cambridge District Court and Quincy District Court.
Interns, students, and paralegals in the Consumer Law Unit assist with intake and screening at the clinics, prepare cases for referral to the private bar for full representation, and help with client discovery. Interns may also have research projects that flow from active cases.
The Housing Law Unit primarily handles landlord-tenant disputes. VLP represents low-income tenants in eviction defense as well as eligible landlords. We assist clients with affirmative conditions cases, subsidy terminations and denials, housing application denials, and reasonable accommodation.
We have a twice weekly housing clinic where interns, students, and paralegals help screen clients for eligibility and assist the volunteer attorneys with landlord-tenant cases. The project is an insightful opportunity to learn housing law through shadowing experienced attorneys, observing court proceedings, and interviewing clients. Law students who are certified to practice under Rule 3:03 have the opportunity to represent clients in mediations and in hearings before a judge.
Family Law and Guardianship
At court clinics, interns, students, and paralegals have the opportunity to screen and assist clients with various family law and guardianship-related issues. These clinics provide unique opportunities for interns to shadow and network with practicing attorneys and interact with clients.
Family Law Clinic
VLP operates the Family Law Clinic in the Suffolk County Probate and Family Court every Wednesday. The clinic assists clients with various cases including divorce, paternity issues, child support orders, custody and visitation issues, and modifications. Interns, students, and paralegals complete client intakes, assist attorneys, and help draft some documents. This is a worthwhile opportunity for law students and law graduates awaiting bar results. You will get firsthand experience in family law and client interactions under the guidance of experienced attorneys.
VLP operates a twice per week Guardianship Clinic in the Suffolk and Middlesex Probate and Family Courts. Interns, students, and paralegals complete intakes and help draft documents for clients. This is another unique opportunity for law students and law graduates awaiting bar results to gain hands-on experience.