Pro bono is a Latin phrase for professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment as a public service. The ABA (American Bar Association) celebrated National Pro Bono Week October 25 through October 31, 2015. Here in Clark County, we have an active local bar that works diligently at offering access to justice for the indigent and downtrodden. In years past, I learned something about that process by donating time on occasion as a volunteer attorney initially to the Clark County Homeless Court project, and later to the Housing Justice Project.
More recently, I am grateful to have been selected to serve a three year term as a board member of our prominent local pro bono oversight organization, the Clark County Volunteer Lawyer Program (CCVLP). I began my term as a new board member earlier this year, in the spring, and have been learning much about what it takes to operate an agency with such laudable purposes and challenging responsibilities.
The Clark County VLP provides free legal services to low-income people with civil (not criminal) issues in the State of Washington in Clark County Courts. The services are provided through volunteer attorneys, and offer clients assistance with legal issues in areas of family law (divorce, custody, paternity, support, and other family law issues), bankruptcy, collection, guardianship, landlord/tenant disputes, and other matters. The program may also be able to assist clients with issues in various specialty courts and clinics, including the SafeChoice DV Clinic, Housing Justice Project Clinic and Housing Justice Project Court, Homeless Shelter, and Homeless Court.
The CCVLP is a truly remarkable local agency staffed by good people and volunteer lawyers who work hard at trying to offer indigent persons a fair shake in our local civil justice system and courts. Their efforts should be lauded, despite the fact that Pro Bono Week came and went with little fanfare here in Vancouver, Washington.
If you have any interest in the CCVLP (as a recipient of its benefits perhaps, as a donor of volunteer time if you are an attorney, or otherwise) its website address is ccvlp.org. CCVLP staff can be reached at the client phone number of (360) 695-5313, or the administrative phone number of (360) 823-0423, or through email directed to [email protected].