ACCESS TO JUSTICE
Providing equal access to justice and high quality legal representation to all Delawareans is central to the mission of the Delaware State Bar Association. The Access to Justice Program promotes pro bono representation and encourages Delaware lawyers to support legal services programs.
Please note that the Access to Justice Program does not match clients with pro bono attorneys. The Access to Justice Program is a source of information, resources and assistance to support, facilitate, and expand the delivery of, and encourage lawyers to perform, pro bono work and to help them connect with opportunities that meet their needs. Our programs, projects and services help pro bono advocates address the legal needs of the underserved.
Combined Campaign for Justice
The U. S. Constitution guarantees the right to legal representation in a criminal trial but not for civil legal issues. Civil legal aid assures fairness for all in the justice system, especially people who are poor, people with significant disabilities, people who are elderly, children, victims of violence, and veterans. CCJ helps Delaware’s three nonprofit legal aid agencies (CLASI, DVLS, LSCD), ensuring statewide and coordinated legal representation to – reduce domestic violence by helping victims obtain protective orders – prevent homelessness by defending eviction and foreclosure actions – eradicate housing discrimination through enforcement of state and federal housing discrimination laws – advocate for the rights of children with significant disabilities in their schools and communities, and with the government agencies that serve them – and protect disadvantaged people with consumer cases that involve exploitation and fraud.
Combined Campaign for Justice Pro Bono Partners
Delaware Volunteer Legal Services, Inc. (DVLS)
DVLS is an organization of volunteer attorneys who assist low-income clients with problems in a variety of areas. DVLS also provides a centralized case intake service called “The Legal Help Link.” This service assures that callers are referred to the appropriate legal services organization or to a private attorney for assistance.
Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.
CLASI is a nonprofit law firm dedicated to equal justice for all, improving lives since 1946 providing civil legal services at no cost to help people become safe and meet their basic needs for food, income and housing, helping people with special needs, such as low income and/or disabilities, or who are age 60 and over and offering immigration law and other services to protect victims of crime, abuse and neglect.
Legal Services Corporation of DE (LSCD)
LSCD is a private, non-profit law firm whose mission is to use the practice of law to help low-income families in Delaware. They emphasize protection of those rights that are crucial to the viability of a stable family. LSCD addresses legal issues that threaten the economic independence of low-income Delawareans.
Access to Justice partners with Pro Bono volunteer needs:
The Office of the Child Advocate The Office of the Child Advocate safeguards the welfare of Delaware’s children through educational advocacy, system reform, public awareness, training, and legal representation of children. Please visit: http://courts.delaware.gov/childadvocate.
Delaware State Bar Association Veterans Law Committee The Delaware State Bar Association Committee on Veterans Law was founded in 2008 with the mission to promote the professional development and interests of its members and to provide a common meeting ground for attorneys who seek to assist members and Veterans of the armed services with legal needs. R. Craig Martin, Esq. firstname.lastname@example.org T 302.468.5655 F 302.394.2341. Clinic Hotline for veterans who are interested in scheduling an appointment can leave a message: Toll-free: 855-872-5911 or Local: 302-468-5670.
Federal Civil Panel The Federal Civil Panel was established on May 25, 1999 by Standing Order Re “The Establishment of a Federal Civil Panel To Provide Legal Assistance to Indigent Parties in Certain Civil Litigation”, and is divided into three categories or panels; Prisoner Civil Rights, Employment Discrimination, and Other Civil Matters. Contact: Clerk of Court, ATTN: Ron Eberhard, at 573-6170.
Widener School of Law Veterans Law Clinic The Veterans Law Clinic provides free legal representation to low income disabled veterans and their dependents with pension and compensation claims denied by the VA. The clinic also provides representation in several other related areas including upgrades, VA overpayment and waiver requests, and dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) benefits. Contact: 302-477-2090.
ACLU of DE The American Civil Liberties Union is the premier civil rights organization in our country consistently defending constitutionally based principles. The ACLU works in the courts, in the state and federal legislatures, and at the grassroots level to defend the Constitution. The ACLU-DE, the local affiliate of the national ACLU, was established in 1961. Contact Richard H. Morse or call (302) 654-5326, ext. 102.
Limited Pro Bono Legal Assistance Program & Administrative Office of the Courts The Program offers Free 15 minutes of legal assistance. Volunteer attorneys meet with eligible self-represented litigants for a one-time fifteen-minute meeting. To be eligible, people seeking assistance must not have received previous legal assistance regarding the same issue and their question must be one that can be asked and answered within the fifteen-minute timeframe. People using the service will be directed to legal service providers and reference materials for further assistance. Contact: Karen Antonelli at 302-255-2599.
Wills For Heroes DE “Wills for Heroes” provides police, fire and emergency medical personnel — those on the frontlines for our personal safety — the tools they need to prepare adequately for the future. Programs are staffed by lawyer volunteers and are conveniently offered to first responders at meeting halls and police and fire stations. Wills for Heroes DE hosts events to provide free wills and powers of attorney to first responders. Contact: 302.477.2016 Email: email@example.com
The Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council is a 501(c)3 organization, whose mission is to ensure equal access to credit and capital for underserved populations and communities throughout Delaware through education, outreach, advocacy, and legislation. The Low Income Tax Clinic provides numerous volunteer opportunities. DCRAC resolves IRS controversies ranging from: withheld returns; SSDI levy; requesting CNC; negotiating installment agreements; OIC; EIC and other audits, etc. Tax court representation is a distinct possibility. Help is offered to non-filers in filing returns and in many instances, help in filing 1040Xs when the taxpayer has made an error by claiming EIC. To volunteer, please contact Rashmi Rangan, Esq., Executive Director: 302-654-5024 ext. 100.
ABA Military Pro Bono Project The ABA Military Pro Bono Project accepts case referrals from military attorneys on behalf of junior-enlisted, active-duty military personnel and their families with civil legal problems, and it places these cases with pro bono attorneys where the legal assistance is needed. The Project is also the platform for “Operation Stand-By”, through which military attorneys may seek attorney-to-attorney advice to better assist their service member clients. Members of the Delaware Bar who may be interested in receiving pro bono referrals via the ABA Military Pro Bono Project site or are willing to consult with military legal assistance attorneys on matters of Delaware state law through “Operation Stand-By” are urged to go to this link: http://www.militaryprobono.org/
Delaware Law Related Education Center, Inc. DELREC is a private, nonprofit organization that has provided services to Delaware’s schools, educators and community organizations for over a decade. The Center’s methodology provides a framework that promotes active learning experiences for students who need to function in a society based on the rule of law. The Center connects schools, communities and the legal system to engage young people in the development of lifelong skills, values, and experiences relevant to their personal lives. Contact Pat Quann: 302-778-0643 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Committee on Law and the Elderly has posted their Legal Handbook for Older Delawareans to assist Delaware’s older citizens.
The Delaware State Bar Association’s ongoing efforts to drive greater community engagement, is one of our highest priorities. We are actively developing opportunities for members to volunteer in many areas of interest and locations. Additional opportunities in the legal field will be added regularly by our partner legal services agencies as they become available.
CLE credit for Pro Bono Legal Services
An attorney may receive credit, upon application to the Commission on Continuing Legal Education of the Supreme Court of Delaware, http://courts.delaware.gov/cle, for performing uncompensated legal services for clients unable to afford counsel, provided:
The services are performed pursuant to:
(i) Appointment of the Attorney by a Delaware court, including the United States District Court for the District of Delaware; or,
(ii) An assignment of a matter to the Attorney by Delaware Volunteer Legal Services, Inc., Community Legal Aid Society of Delaware, Inc., the Office of the Child Advocate, or Legal Services Corporation of Delaware, Inc.
Credit may be earned at a rate of one hour of CLE credit for every six hours of uncompensated legal services performed.
An attorney may receive no more than six credit hours pursuant to this Rule 8(D) in any biannual reporting period.