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PRO BONO SERVICE


The Pro Bono Service Committee coordinates volunteers and develops relationships with pro bono organizations in the Austin area. 

The "heart and soul" of any professional association is its service to the local community.  CAPA is not just about serving paralegals – we also serve the community in which we live, work, and play.  As a paralegal or paralegal student, you can provide invaluable support to access to justice providers and clients through research, intake assistance, document preparation, translation and interpretation, fundraising, and more.


PRO BONO COMMITTEE CHAIRS


Amber Haney

The Haney Law Firm

808 West 10th Street, Suite 100

Austin, TX 78701

Phone: (512) 476-2212


-and-


Ana Badillo

(512) 743-0851



TAKE THE

PRO BONO CHALLENGE

The Pro Bono Committee is challenging the entire CAPA membership to volunteer FIVE pro bono hours per year.  Everyone who completes the challenge will be invited to attend the pro bono volunteer appreciation reception.

We are so proud of the pro bono service CAPA members provide!  Please keep track of your pro bono hours through and outside of your employment duties using this form, and email the completed form to the Committee Chair.  Reporting your hours every month will help us keep track of how many total hours CAPA members contribute to making the judicial system available to everyone in the Austin and surrounding area. 



Paralegal volunteers at the June 2019 CANLAW Clinic.




CAPA members Will Castro, Angela Hopkins and Cynthia Hopkins participating  at the Austin Young Lawyer Association community resource fair at Communities First! Village.



Veterans Project

The Austin Bar Association holds a free legal advice clinic once a month for all U.S. Veterans.  Attorney volunteers provide brief, legal advice at no cost and with no appointments during these clinics.  The Austin Bar also provides free legal advice over the phone to eligible veterans, and assists with minor legal issues to veterans in Travis and surrounding counties.  The Veterans' Clinics are held once a month from 1:30 PM-3:30 PM at the Austin VA Outpatient Clinic, 7901 Metropolis Drive, Austin, TX.  Paralegals are needed to help with intake, assisting clients with forms, and assistance with the upkeep of the database.  CAPA members interested in this project should contact Doug Lawrence at doug@austinbar.org or Stephanie Seuser at probono@capatx.org.


 

Planning for the Future


This clinic provides free estate planning services to the cancer community.  Anyone who has ever had cancer or who is currently living with cancer qualifies for the services.   Clients come to a one time appointment on a Saturday and meet with a lawyer and paralegal and have a will, healthcare power of attorney, financial power of attorney, and physician’s directive (aka living will) prepared and executed at the appointment.   Paralegals are needed to proofread documents, witness the wills, notarize documents, and assist attorneys with the client meetings and will signing ceremonies.  The clinics are quarterly and take place at different locations through the Austin area.  The clinics usually last from about 9 am to 3 pm.  Volunteers can volunteer for a short shift or for the whole day.  If interested, contact Amber Haney, pro bono co-chair, or you can email info@cancerlawclinic.org for more information.  For clinic schedule and volunteer sign-up, see the website at www.cancerlawclinic.org.


CASA

(Court Appointed Special Advocates)

As a CASA volunteer, you:

Spend quality time with the child or children to whom you are are appointed to:

  • Communicate regularly with the child(ren)’s parents, relatives, teachers, doctors, therapists, caregivers, and anyone else involved in the child’s life;
  • Participate in case meetings and review case files;
  • Gather and document information on your case;
  • Formulate recommendations on what is in the best interest of the children; and
  • Submit a court report and present your recommendations to the judge in the courtroom.
CASA has regular volunteer training events.  Learn more about volunteering at http://www.casatravis.org/volunteer.  To register for an information session, please go to http://www.casatravis.org/volunteer/infosession.

CASA Volunteer Training Schedule 

The new CASA Volunteer Training program consists of eight in-person 3.5-hour classes, an hour of pre-work for each class and three hours of courtroom observation (approximately 39 hours total) completed over a five-week cycle. You must finish all training and observation within the five weeks and all background checks must be completed and cleared in order to be assigned to a case.

See CASA Training Cycle Dates and Calendar here.


Helping low-income individuals solve civil legal issues.


Travis County Law Library and Self-help Center Assistance Programs

Uncontested Family Law Walk-in Case Review Clinic:  This clinic is supervised by Laurel Holland, supervising attorney for pro se litigants in family law uncontested docket matters.  This clinic is comprised of volunteer lawyers who review pro se documents for people who have filed uncontested divorces and need to have their final decrees reviewed before they go to uncontested docket for the judge’s signature.

Self-represented Litigant Project: This clinic is for pro se litigants with uncontested civil matters like name changes, landlord/tenant matters, and occupational driver licenses.  Paralegals are needed to assist clients with filling out petitions, waivers, and affidavits of inability to pay court costs.  Paralegal volunteers are also able to explain the general court procedures to pro se litigants who have never been involved with court procedures before.  All of the pro se forms are found on the TexasLawHelp.org website.

Both of these clinics are from 10:00 AM -12:00 Noon at the Travis County Law Library and Self Help Center in the Ned Granger Building (across from the Travis County Courthouse), at 314 W 11th Street, #140, Austin, Texas 78701.  Volunteers are needed any time between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM, so paralegals can come for one hour during their lunch hour.  Interested paralegals can contact Amber Haney at probono@capatx.org.

For information about how to volunteer, click here.


Volunteer Legal Services Clinics


The Pro Bono Evening Clinics offer people an opportunity to apply for civil legal services and get legal advice.   It is a joint effort between RioGrande Legal Aid, Volunteer Legal Services, Landlord Tenant Counsel, Catholic Diocese, several law firms and other non-profit organizations.  CAPA provides paralegal volunteers and interpreters to the clinics.  Paralegals support the clinic by helping applicants fill out forms on the family law side.  The forms are simple and easy to complete, but they can be confusing to the public.  We help them understand the questions and capture as much information as possible.  The clinics start at 6:00 pm and are usually finished by 8:00 pm.

How are your interviewing skills? Did you know the skills you currently have could help someone? Do you have two hours a month to commit to an experience that can make a difference in someone's life? Please consider volunteering your skills at the evening clinics 6:00-8:00 pm on Wednesdays at Webb Middle School.  Please contact the VLS Coordinator to pick a date for clinic training.


There is a need for more Spanish speaking interpreters at the evening clinics. Interpreters work helping applicants fill out forms and sitting with attorneys and interpreting their legal advice for applicants. This is a great opportunity to learn more about different areas of law and meet a critical need for people. Please let the VLS Coordinator know if you can volunteer as an interpreter.


View the list of VLS paralegal volunteer positions to see how you could help! 


Definition of Paralegal Pro Bono Service:

Providing legal assistance, without compensation to the paralegal, that requires specific legal skills, knowledge or training, under the supervision of a licensed attorney or qualified organizations, whether individually, or through non-profit charitable, religious, civic, community, or governmental organizations, and serving as an advocate for those with limited means or that are unable to speak for themselves.
1.  Providing legal support services for persons of limited means, either through qualified legal services/legal aid programs.
2.  Providing legal support services at community legal clinics; and
3.  Providing assistance for, working directly with attorneys on cases, or providing direct client advocacy, under legal services/advocacy programs that are sponsored by a bar association, court, governmental agency or non-profit agency.


Updated 2019.07.17

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