VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES:As a nonprofit organization, Thurston County Volunteer Legal Service relies on volunteers to provide direct services to our clients. We welcome your time and your skills. Call the Volunteer Line at 360-810-2321 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to learn more!
TCVLS promotes access to justice through volunteer attorneys. As a volunteer, you will help low income clients resolve their civil legal problems by providing them legal advice, information and, sometimes, direct representation. The benefits of volunteering include:
- real-time experience providing legal consultation,
- being mentored by our seasoned volunteer attorneys,
- networking opprtunities with other lawyers in the community,
- free monthly CLEs,
- pro bono hours that can count toward CLE requirements, and
- the satisfaction of leaving a valuable impact with the individuals and families you advise.
Don’t worry if you are not an expert in one of the areas we typically see — we use a model that provides on-site mentors at each clinic.
Attorneys who are well-versed in family law are encouraged to volunteer to be Mentors for our legal clinic. About 80% of the clients we see at legal clinics have family law issues.
You must be a member of the Washington State Bar Association in order to volunteer at our clinics.
TCVLS has malpractice insurance that covers your volunteer practice.
LEGAL ADVICE CLINICS
Attorneys interview clients, identify issues, confer with a mentor and then give advice on a range of civil issues. You do not need to have expertise in the subject matter; the mentor will provide expertise. There are clinics in Olympia, Shelton and (soon) in Aberdeen who would benefit from attorney volunteers. These clinics are held in the evenings. On Friday mornings, volunteers for the Housing Justice Project represent low income clients on the Unlawful Detainer (eviction) calendar.
1st and 3rd Thursday at SafePlace (clients are are dealing with domestic abuse)
2nd, 4th and 5th Tuesdays at the Family Support Center
3rd Wednesday at the Family Support Center
1st Tuesday at the Shelton United Methodist Church, 1900 King Street
2nd Wednesday (call TCVLS for location).
HOUSING JUSTICE PROJECT (HJP)
Attorneys provide advice, negotiation and/or in-court representation for tenants being evicted. Clinics are held every Friday morning, except court holidays. The Housing Justice Project starts at 8:30 a.m. Hearings are usually completed by noon.
At the same time as Unlawful Detainer hearings, clients with general landlord-tenant issues are advised in a clinic setting in the court’s law library.
This is a great experience in an ever-changing environment.
Direct Representation goes beyond legal advice and includes negotiating, drafting letters and documents and/or providing in-court representation on behalf of a low income client. TCVLS volunteer attorneys due this for free. Representing those who are unable to provide their own legal representation can be a rewarding experience. We will work with you to find a mentor or other support if you find its needed when doing direct representation. TCVLS will also cover your malpractice insurance. Find out more about TCVLS Direct Representation Initiative here!
We also have volunteer opportunities for non-attorneys. Each of our clinics requires that clients go through an initial interview done by a non-attorney before they are seen by an attorney. The volunteer interviewer, called an Administrator, establishes income eligibility and gathers general information about the legal issue. The volunteer Administrator then presents the case to an attorney and provides support as needed.
Sometimes, TCVLS will accept college interns to assist with non-attorney tasks. The intern is a part-time, unpaid position located at our office and clinics. We have a variety of tasks that you can help with to support the free legal advice clinics. The Program Coordinator and Executive Director provide training, supervision and evaluation. Please speak to your advisor and contact us to see if we have an internship available that fits your academic goal.