Volunteers needed to help low-income clients

Guidance, malpractice insurance and office space are available.

  • By
  • | 12:15 a.m. February 2, 2023
Samantha Howell, Three Rivers Legal Services
Samantha Howell, Three Rivers Legal Services
  • The Bar Bulletin
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 “If you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself, something that makes life better for people less fortunate.”

The late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

February is the shortest month of the year, but what a difference you could make in the lives of people who cannot afford adequate legal assistance.

Show your love this month by helping a family in need.

If you are interested in volunteering, Three Rivers Legal Services is a great place to start. Volunteer attorneys are referred cases in their areas of expertise. If you want to try a new area of practice, like guardianship or sealing/expunging criminal records, we will provide training and mentorship throughout the case.

We also provide malpractice insurance coverage and reimbursement for some litigation costs. We also offer office space for you to meet with your referred client.

We will make every effort to ensure you have a positive experience volunteering with Three Rivers.  

There are several ways to volunteer:

The Telephonic Housing Clinic is offered 5-6 p.m. every Tuesday. Appointments for advice only are scheduled for 45 minutes. Three Rivers staff screen and schedule clients, notifying volunteers of their assignments on the Friday or Monday before the clinic.

Issues involve private landlord/tenant issues such as eviction, repairs and security deposits. Volunteers complete an online form during the call so that staff knows what advice was given and whether any follow-up is needed.

Pro Se Divorce Clinics are offered every three months in Jacksonville and involve a morning session for petitioners with minor children and an afternoon session for petitioners without minor children.

Three Rivers will pre-fill much of the forms with the clients; volunteer attorneys will participate for the limited purpose of providing counsel/advice. The next clinic is Feb. 28.

You also can take on a client matter for limited scope or full representation in areas including bankruptcy, special education, family, housing/property, consumer, income maintenance and trusts & estates.

We are in particular need of attorneys to assist with probate cases, guardianship and guardian advocacy, and landlord/tenant.

Members of The Florida Bar are encouraged to provide at least 20 hours of pro bono service each year.

Volunteering with TRLS is an easy way to take care of this duty while meeting colleagues and learning more about our client communities. It also is an effective way to dip your toes into a new area of law.

If you have any questions or would like to participate, email [email protected] or call 352-415-2315.

Visit https://www.trls.org/volunteer/ to select an available case and learn more about the Three Rivers Pro Bono Legal Assistance Program.