This guide lists information regarding specific
pro bono projects within Utah. The guides intent is to inform
attorneys about the work and support involved in each project so that
they can make an informed decision about volunteering their legal services.
Each description includes information on: 1- the type
of case and what work is involved, 2- the estimated amount of time it
will take to complete a case or project, and 3- the support offered
from the related agency, such as materials, pleadings, instruction,
training and a resource contact person.
Attorney support of these pro bono projects
is greatly appreciated. If you have comments, suggestions or questions
about any of the projects or the information contained in this guide,
please contact Michelle Harvey at: (801) 297-7027 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summary of Programs
Debtor’s Counseling Clinic is held on the fourth Thursday of the month from 6:00-8:00pm at the Salt Lake City Public Library, Level 4 meeting room, 400 South 210 East. Areas of law include bankruptcy and collections. Co-sponsored by the Utah State Bar, Utah Legal Services and the Pro Bono Initiative of the S.J. Quinney College of Law.
Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake provides legal counsel
on domestic relations issues to indigent citizens in Salt Lake County.
The agency's primary goal in these cases is family stabilization, with
particular concern for children that may be involved.
Volunteer lawyers are assigned the simpler divorce and paternity cases.
An attempt is made to match the level of case complexity with the volunteers
experience. All cases are screened for merit and client financial eligibility.
Volunteer attorneys are provided with: domestic relations forms and
pleadings (on disk), training (as necessary), malpractice insurance
coverage, and a staff attorney to serve as a mentor (as needed). The
time commitment varies with each individual case.
Legal Services (ULS) is a nonprofit law office that
provides free legal assistance in civil cases to low income people.
ULS serves the entire state with offices in Salt Lake City, Tooele,
Ogden, Provo, Price, and Cedar City, as well as Monticello. Identifiable
client groups include: migrant workers, Native Americans, senior citizens,
and the homeless. ULS's service priorities focus on client survival
needs, namely food, shelter, income maintenance and health care. Outside
of Salt Lake County ULS serves domestic relations needs as well.
Volunteer attorneys may accept many different types
of cases. ULS attempts to match the volunteer attorneys requests with
client needs. ULS screens all cases for merit and client financial eligibility.
Malpractice coverage, materials, forms; pleadings and training (as needed)
are provided to volunteers. Time commitments vary according to each
case. Volunteer attorneys may also participate in statewide community
education programs and telephone intake/advice only projects. Time commitment
for these projects varies as well.
Violence Clinics - SL County, Davis County
The clinic in SL County is co-sponsored by the Legal
Aid Society, the Delivery of Legal Services Committee of the Utah State
Bar, Utah Legal Services, and the Third District Court. In Davis County
the clinic is part of the Victims of Crime Assistance Program. Both
programs offer representation to pro se plaintiffs at protective
order hearings. Clients are people seeking protection from an abusive
Volunteer attorneys enter an appearance on behalf of
the pro se litigant for the hearing only. The time commitment
is up to the individual volunteer: the training session runs two hours;
each hearing requires approximately three hours. Some attorneys volunteer
on a regular monthly basis; others less frequently. Volunteers may receive
training, information manuals and assistance from staff attorneys at
the Legal Aid Society and Utah Legal Services. Volunteers also receive
professional liability insurance coverage.
Lawyer Volunteer Project/Utah Legal Services - SL County
This project is an estate planning, pro bono
legal services program for low-income Utah residents. To date, the project
has utilized retired or semi-retired volunteer attorneys to provide
wills, advanced medical directives, and simple estate planning services.
Project clients are primarily the elderly, however, they also include
persons with disabilities and persons with terminal illnesses.
The project is housed in the Salt Lake City office
of Utah Legal Services. Volunteer attorneys choose their level of participation.
Some volunteers come in weekly, while others accept individual cases,
as they are able. Mentors, experienced in estate planning, are also
welcome and can provide assistance to other volunteers. The project
is run by a Utah Legal Services staff attorney who screens all clients,
tracks the cases, and provides assistance when needed. Training, materials
and professional liability insurance are also provided.
Legal Clinic Program/Utah State Bar - SL County
The Committee on Law & Aging of the Utah State
Bar runs this program. Volunteer attorneys meet with senior citizens
at senior citizen centers within Salt Lake County. Volunteers meet
one-on-one with six clients for 20 minute consultations, over a two
hour period. The goal is not to provide in-depth legal advice, but
to determine whether the individual has a legal problem and then to
identify potential legal services to address the problem. The volunteers
do not need to have specialized knowledge of the legal issues affecting
Volunteers receive a manual containing information
on free legal services and community resources for the elderly. They
also receive handouts on various legal issues (e.g. powers of attorney,
living wills) prepared by Utah legal Services. Malpractice insurance
is also provided. Time commitment is controlled by the volunteer, which
is based on the number of clinics they attend.
or Thursday Night Bar - Salt Lake, Park City & Ogden
Tuesday/Thursday Night Bar is a long-standing program
of the Bar. Programs in Provo and Ogden are coordinated by local bar
associations and other groups. Participation in this project is quite
simple. Attorneys are scheduled for a particular evening and show
up that evening. Each client is allowed 20 minutes to ask the volunteer
attorney questions about their particular legal problem. The volunteer
attorney does not enter into an attorney/client relationship at that
meeting. Primarily the volunteer acts as a referral source, letting
clients know of their legal rights and referring them to private attorneys
or legal service agencies.
The time commitment for volunteer attorneys on this
projects varies according to how many evenings they fit into their schedule
for the year. An evening stint usually lasts 2.5 to 3 hours. Volunteers
are given a handout which outlines their duties for the evening and
gives a list a referral sources.
More information is listed here.
Legal Assistance for Military program (LAMP) is a project of the American Bar Association (ABA) that helps active/deployed military personnel in need of pro bono legal assistance for civil issues. It is the program policy that all requests for pro bono representation must come from either a local Judge Advocate General (JAG) office or the ABA Military Pro Bono Project. The Utah State Bar does not accept requests directly from the service members.
For JAG referred cases, the service member must submit the LAMP intake form to ascertain whether or not they qualify for assistance. The ABA will occasionally send requests for assistance from the LAMP. The contact for the ABA is Jason T. Vail, Project Director, Military Pro Bono Project, American Bar Association Division for Legal Services, 312-988-5783, fax 312-988-5483, email@example.com, 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654-7598, www.militaryprobono.org.
Service Member Attorney Volunteer (SMAV)
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides active duty service members with protections in civil cases on a limited representation basis. In cases when service members are facing default judgment, the court must appoint an attorney to locate and contact them to determine how they’d like to proceed with their case. Initiated by the Utah State Courts and implemented by the Utah State Bar, Service Member Attorney Volunteer (SMAV) program seeks volunteer attorneys to provide limited representation to service members in this situation. While Legal Assistance for Military program (LAMP) assumes full representation of a service member, a Service Member Attorney Volunteer (SMAV) project provides limited representation and includes:
- Trying to find and contact the service member.
- Notifying the service member of the case.
- Communicating to the court whether you have been able to locate and contact the service member.
- Advising the service member of their rights and options.
- Communicating to the court whether the service member wants to consent to the relief requested in the complaint/petition or to contest the matter.
If the service member wants to request a stay, preparing, filing and serving the documents to request the stay.
If the service member wants to consent to the judgment, preparing, filing and serving the documents to waive rights under the SCRA and consent to judgment.
If the service member wants to contest the case and move forward immediately, preparing, filing and serving the documents to waive rights under the SCRA. Filing an answer (or other responsive pleading) is beyond the scope your limited legal help.
- Appearing at hearings as needed to decide whether to stay this case.
- Notifying the court and parties if the service member hires you for representation beyond the scope of your agreement.
- Filing and serving a Notice of Withdrawal upon termination of your representation.
The Service Member Attorney Volunteers webpage describes your responsibilities and provides forms to support your volunteer work. More information on the training for the SMAV program could be found here http://www.utahbar.org/probono/cle_calendar.html
Habeas Corpus – the Utah State Courts occasionally request the Bar’s assistance in finding pro bono representation for habeas corpus cases. The Bar has a limited number of attorneys that are willing to undertake these cases pro bono. If willing counsel is found to represent the petitioner, the Courts are sent a letter stating the attorney’s contact information and a copy of the habeas file is sent to the volunteer attorney. The Utah State Bar provides trainings on how to handle habeas corpus cases.
Legal Services, BYU Law School & the Central Utah Bar - Utah County
LawHelp sponsors several pro bono projects, including
some where volunteers serve as supervising attorneys for law students.
1. Elder Law Project (LIFE) - Pro bono attorneys supervise students
representing senior citizen clients. The students obtain these clients
through meetings at Senior Citizen Centers in Utah Valley. Most of
these cases are handled without the need for litigation. The attorney
and student assist clients in a broad range of legal matters including
drafting of simple wills, living wills, health care programs, consumer
complaints, etc. Utah Legal Services provides will-drafting software
and information pamphlets for these cases. The time commitment for
each case varies.
2. Domestic Violence Intervention - Pro bono attorneys supervise
students assisting victims of spouse abuse.
3. Street Law Project - Pro bono attorneys supervise students assisting
low income clients. Most of these cases are handled without the need
for litigation. The attorney and student assist clients in a broad
range of legal matters. The time commitment for each case varies.
Disability Law Center - Statewide
The primary need of this project is for assistance
representing proposed wards in guardianship proceedings. Most guardianship
cases for disabled individuals are simple. They typically involve either
a stipulation to guardianship or a simple modification. This usually
comprises one or two visits with the client and an appearance at the
probate law and motion calendar.
The Law Center provides training to all participating
attorneys on: applicable law, court procedures, and dealing with the
client. Additionally they provide support for any questions you might
have and will take back any cases that become complex.
Ad Litem - Statewide.
This project involves representing children in custody
cases. These cases do not involve abuse allegations, however, a judge
has requested representation for the child. This program is administered
by the Office of Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) in the Administrative Office
of the Courts. Time commitments for cases vary, depending on the specific
circumstances of each case.
The Office of GAL offers approximately 12 hours of
training and the materials needed to handle a case. Volunteers must
be willing to take one case and can take additional cases as they desire.
Court Visitor Program is a project put on by the Utah State Courts it is a district court volunteer program that aims to protect vulnerable adults under guardianship, assist guardians and improve judges’ decisions. A court visitor investigates, observes, and reports to the court, ensuring that the protected person’s needs are met, that their property is protected and being used for their benefit, and that the court’s orders are being followed.
The time commitment for volunteer attorneys on this project varies according to the particular opportunity that you would want to get involved in. Volunteers are appointed by the court, receive mandatory 10 to 12 hour training (possibly eligible for CLE credits), contribute 8 to 10 hours per month for one year on a flexible schedule.
For more information please contact the Program Coordinator at 801-578-3925 or firstname.lastname@example.org, you can also find more information at www.utcourts.gov/visitor.
Bono Initiative - SL County
Bono Initiative, at the University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College
of Law, actively supports legal services in our state by encouraging
law students to accept placements with practicing attorneys to assist
them with their pro bono work. Pro Bono Initiative students
cannot give legal advice without attorney supervision. However, students
do provide valuable assistance to attorneys doing pro bono
legal work for low-income Utahns and for non-profit agencies.
By encouraging students to participate in the Pro Bono
Initiative the College of Law seeks to promote an ethic of public service
among students, attorneys and others associated with the practice of
law. A student volunteer can make it easier for an attorney to accept
a pro bono project, and by receiving student assistance attorneys
provide priceless mentoring for that individual while fulfilling an
ethical obligation to the community by providing a service that only
Students from the law school have participated in pro
bono projects ranging from death penalty appeals to street law,
and from incorporation to legislative needs of non-profit organizations.
Attorneys interested in having a law student assist
with a pro bono case should contact the Pro Bono Initiative
office at 801-581-5418.
The Pro Bono Initiative
University of Utah
S.J. Quinney College of Law
332 South 1400 East, Rm 112
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-6833
Family Law Clinic has
MOVED & changed DAYS!!!
Clinic will meet every 1st & 3rd Wednesday of the month. If the
& 3rd Wednesday of the month is a holiday, the clinic will be
- Time: 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Call (801) 924-3370 for any scheduling changes.
- Location: Matheson Courthouse, 450 South State Street, SLC
To provide instruction and assistance to low-income Utahans
who cannot afford legal representation regarding family law related
PRO SE means: doing it for yourself, without
hiring an attorney to represent you. At our Pro Se Legal Clinics,
an attorney assisted by volunteers will offer instruction, answer
questions, and help clinic attendees complete legal documents for
non-criminal legal proceedings to represent themselves in court proceedings.
The clinic is open to any low-income Utahan who walks in “on
a first come first serve basis.” The clinic does not make appointments.
The Clinic may have volunteers that speak a second language. However,
if your English is not very good, we strongly suggest that you bring
someone with you who can interpret.
For the best use of everyone’s time, it is important that all
clinic attendees arrive as early as possible, while still understanding
and expecting that they might be the last person served. The latest
that services for any individual attendee can begin is one half hour
before the clinic closes.
S. J. Quinney College of Law--Pro Bono Initiative
University of Utah--Women’s Resource Center
Utah Legal Services
Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake City
Utah State Bar--Family Law Section
Volunteer Lawyers, Legal Professionals & Law Students
Other Attorney Resources:
Utah Courts' Forms - Adoptions, Child Welfare, Child Support Worksheet & Income Tables,
Custody Evaluation, Garnishment, Guardianship, Protective Orders, Small
Claims, and Others.
Utah Legal Services