Pro Bono Projects
Donate your time and legal expertise to assist low-income residents of Hillsborough, N. Pinellas, and Pasco counties by participating in a pro bono project. Volunteers should be an attorney in good standing with The Florida Bar and practicing in Hillsborough, N. Pinellas, or Pasco County. We also offer opportunities for law students. You can sign-up to volunteer for a Bay Area Volunteer Lawyers Program project by completing the Pro Bono Registration and selecting the BAVLP project that interests you or volunteer for other pro bono projects by contacting the contact person listed. Projects are designated Hillsborough (H), N. Pinellas (NP), Pasco (P), and for law students (L). If you have questions about participating in a BAVLP pro bono project, contact BAVLP at 813.226.8685 ext.110.
- Case Referral Panel (H, P) Accept civil case referrals in those areas of the law that you have designated. Low-income clients are screened for eligibility and cases are reviewed for legal merit prior to referral. Mentoring is available.
- Client Intake (H) Interview and advise legal aid applicants. Intake sessions are held at the George Edgecomb Courthouse several evenings a month from 5:30 to 8 p.m. No experience or expertise is needed. Training and supervision provided.
- Client Intake (NP) Interview and advise legal aid applicants. Intake sessions are held at BAVLP NW's Clearwater office during daytime hours, as needed. No experience or expertise is needed. Training and supervision provided.
- Community Counsel (H, NP, P) Provide legal assistance to community groups and nonprofit organizations that serve indigent residents. This is an ideal pro bono opportunity for transactional attorneys, in-house counsel, and attorneys representing management.
- Domestic Violence Assistance Project (H) Assist victims of domestic violence complete petitions for injunction. Participation does not require court appearances or representation. Training DVD is provided. The Project is located at the George Edgecomb Courthouse and is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., and Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, 7-10 a.m.
- Family Forms Clinic (H, L) Help pro se family law litigants complete family law forms. No experience or expertise is needed. Training DVD and materials, as well as supervision, are provided. The Clinic is located at the George Edgecomb Courthouse and is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
- Family Forms Clinic in Spanish/FFC en Espanol (H, L) Assist non-English speaking pro se family law litigants whose primary language is Spanish. Spanish-speaking volunteer attorneys help pro se family law litigants complete family law forms one evening each month, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m., at the George Edgecomb Courthouse. Training and supervision provided. The Clinic is supported by the Tampa Bay Hispanic Bar Association.
- Family Matters (H) Handle a family law case or become a family law mentor. Volunteer attorneys new to the practice of family law agree to accept a simple uncontested divorce case and are matched with an experienced family law attorney. Mentor attorneys agree to mentor up to four mentees, provide practice tips, expertise, and sample forms and pleadings.
- Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (H, NP, P) Assist eligible clients with their income tax issues, including ID theft and innocent spouse relief.
- Mediation Panel (H, P) Volunteer to mediate. Certified mediators provide free mediation services in cases involving indigent clients.
- Mentor Panel (H, NP, P) Become a mentor. Attorneys with specialized expertise assist less experienced volunteer attorneys handling pro bono cases or mentor BALS staff attorneys. Mentoring can be provided by telephone.
- YLD Family Forms Clinic (H, L) Help pro se family law litigants complete family law forms one evening each month, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m., at the George Edgecomb Courthouse. This is a collaborative project with the HCBA Young Lawyers Division.
Other Pro Bono Projects
- Aging Solutions, Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) (H) Volunteers assist in providing legal services to guardians for indigent wards. Services may include preparation of annual accountings, and scheduling and attending case management conferences. Contact Lona DiCerb at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tamara Cribben at 813.949.1888 or Toll Free at 1.866.922.4464.
- Are You Safe (H) Assist victims of domestic violence by representing them during the injunction process. The project is organized by Are You Safe, a nonprofit that provides free legal and social services to domestic violence victims. Training is provided. Contact: Miriam Velez Valkenburg 813.514.1058 or email@example.com.
- Ask a Lawyer (H) Respond to calls from local residents seeking legal help. Volunteers appear on Fox 13's morning television show on the first Thursday of the month from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Contact: HCBA 813.221.7777.
- Bankruptcy Court Legal Assistance Program (H) Assist low-income litigants in certain adversary proceedings. The project is operated by the Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District. Contact: www.flmb.uscourts.gov/legal_assistance/.
- Crossroads for Florida Kids (H) Assist at-risk children in dependency and delinquency proceedings. Training, mentoring, and professional liability insurance provided. Contact: Rosemary Armstrong 813.873.7490 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Allison Singer 813.335.0766 or Allison.email@example.com
- Family Law Guardian Ad Litem Program (H) Experienced volunteer Guardian Ad Litem attorneys needed to serve as children's representatives in family court proceedings. Contact Honorable Matthew Lucas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Federal Litigation Project (H) Provide limited one-time consultation to pro se litigants in federal court. Attorneys with expertise in general civil rights and federal employment issues are needed, but all attorneys with federal law experience are encouraged to participate. Contact: Michael Matthews at 813.225.4133 or email@example.com.
- Fostering Independence Program (H, P) Make a difference in the life of a child by assisting at-risk teens living in foster care. Training DVD is provided. Contact: Guardian Ad Litem Program (GAL) 813.272.6802
- Guardian Ad Litem Program (H, P) Help a child. Volunteer to become an appointed guardian for a child in need. Training is provided by GAL. Contact: 813.272.5110 or www.guardianadlitem.org/probono_train.asp.
- Juvenile Delinquency Attorney Ad Litem Program (H) Serve as a juvenile’s representative in the absence of a parent or guardian. Volunteers are appointed as attorneys ad litem for juveniles charged with criminal offenses. No training is needed. Contact: Ginger Schechter at 813.272.6875
- Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee (H) Provide legal assistance to military personnel and veterans. Contact: Amy Farrior at firstname.lastname@example.org or Robert Stines at email@example.com.
- Project Help (Homeless Experience Legal Protection) (H) Provide advice and counsel to homeless individuals at Metropolitan Ministries’ Outreach Center. Training is provided. Clinics are held Tuesday evenings from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. Contact: Jennifer G. Roeper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- St. Michael’s Legal Center (H) Provide legal assistance to low-income residents at Christ the King Catholic Church. Contact: J. Michael Shea at email@example.com.
- Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association's Pro Bono Bankruptcy Clinic (H) Provide limited advice/information and prepare court documents for pro se bankruptcy litigants. The clinic is open on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons. Contact: Jake Blanchard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Teen Court (H, L) Serve as a judge or mentor to help first-time juvenile offenders in Teen Court, a court-sponsored diversionary program. The project is organized by the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit. Contact: Pam Stokes at 813.272.5953 or email@example.com.
- Wills for Heroes (H) Assist first responders with limited assets (firefighters, police officers, and paramedics) by providing wills, living wills and powers of attorney. Contact: Debra Smietanski 813.229.2300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.