The Memphis legal community is privileged to have an abundance of attorneys who are interested and willing to donate their time and talents to those less fortunate and contact us to offer their help. Working with the Memphis Bar Association Access to Justice Committee, a group of attorneys, social services agencies, paralegals, law students and judges, we have been fortunate to be able to take advantage of these offers in a variety of different ways. The Pro Bono Projects of Memphis Area Legal Services consist of a variety of volunteer opportunities for attorneys, paralegals and law students.
To volunteer as a lawyer or paralegal, click one of the links below for an enrollment form. Fax the completed and signed enrollment form to (901) 843-2930. If you have questions or need more information, please email us.
Click on any of the links below for a description of the Pro Bono Projects initiative.
- Attorney of the Day Project
Volunteer attorneys meet with litigants at the Courthouse one afternoon a week to provide help and make referrals. Every Thursday starting at 1:30 PM in room 134 of the Shelby County Courthouse, volunteer attorneys meet with walk-in clients and provide advice, counsel, referrals and sometimes extended services if needed. Paralegals and students provide supportive services at this clinic. Click here to learn more.
- Saturday Legal Clinic
An outgrowth of the Attorney of the Day Project, these clinics are held the second Saturday of every month at the Benjamin Hooks Main Library at 3030 Poplar Avenue starting at 9:30 AM until 12:30 PM. The clinics provide the opportunity for members of the community to meet with an attorney to discuss their legal issues. The volunteer attorneys provide advice, counsel, referrals and sometimes extended services if needed. Paralegal volunteers from the Memphis Paralegal Association and law students have been key contributors to the success of the operation of this project. Click here to learn more.
Other Volunteer Opportunities
- Volunteer Lawyers Project
The longest running pro bono program at MALS, the Volunteer Lawyers Project is a basic pro bono program in which attorneys enroll and agree to take a certain number of a certain type of cases. They are contacted periodically by phone, fax or e-mail and asked to accept a case for direct representation. No cases are ever referred to an attorney until or unless the attorney agrees to accept the referral. Enroll.
- In-house Limited Service
Attorneys come to MALS’ offices to provide advice and counsel assistance to clients. Sometimes attorneys provide advice, sometimes they provide additional screening and on other times, they are asked to actually refer a case to another attorney to handle pro bono. Paralegals and law students can also provide some of these services. Enroll.
- Atticus Finch Referral Network
Specifically designed to facilitate faster referrals using technology, through this network law firms designate an attorney in-house to serve a ‘gatekeeper’ function. Every other week an e-mail is sent to the gatekeeper with a listing of available cases. The gatekeeper then forwards the request on to firm members who can select a case for pro bono representation. This process provides a greater opportunity for law firm involvement in the delivery of legal services to clients through the Pro Bono Project. Enroll.
- Advance Directives Panel
This panel of volunteers provides legal assistance by drafting advance directives and last wills and testaments for individuals, including those with terminal illnesses or who are elderly. Law students and paralegals provide technical support to the attorneys and assist with the execution of the documents. Attorneys are invited to assist at senior citizen centers or churches to draft and execute various advance directives. Enroll.
- Bankruptcy Alternatives and Pro Bono Project
This project is a collaborative initiated in response to the increasing use of the bankruptcy courts as a number one choice for resolving consumer and debt related problems. The concept is to create a series of community education programs for members of the public to attend; to set aside some time at each program for clients to talk to volunteers about their individual problems; and for those in need of additional assistance, to provide an appropriate referral to either a pro bono consumer or bankruptcy attorney. Enroll.
- Conservatorship Panel
A group of attorneys provide representation to persons seeking to become conservator on behalf of a family member or friend or to serve as Guardian Ad Litem in conservatorships that have already been filed. Enroll.