By Joey Scott
How does a young lawyer begin fulfilling the ethical aspiration in Rule 6.1 of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct to provide 50 hours of pro bono legal services every year? If you’re a young lawyer, you likely have a busy schedule and don’t have much time to take on an extra case. You may also believe you don’t have the experience and expertise necessary to provide competent pro bono services, especially in a field outside your daily practice. You may be worried about malpractice insurance.
For the past year, I’ve been a fellowship attorney at Metro Volunteer Lawyers. When talking to other young lawyers about our programs and ways to get involved, I hear these concerns frequently. Fortunately, we do have programs where you can limit your commitment to a single morning or afternoon, rather than be committed to an ongoing case. Additionally, any legal service you provide through us is covered by our malpractice insurance policy. We’re also here to ensure that you have the skills and resources necessary to provide quality pro bono legal services.
One of the easiest ways to get involved with Metro Volunteer Lawyers is through the Power of Attorney Clinic. I created the Power of Attorney Clinic to address a gap in legal services for low-income seniors. As people get older, they wonder who is going to take care of them if a time comes when they can no longer care for themselves. They wonder who is going to pay the bills, who will tell the doctor what they need, and will their wishes be honored if they can’t voice them? With powers of attorney in place, these concerns are addressed and a trusted family member or friend obtains the legal authority to make those decisions.
At the clinic, volunteer attorneys assist clients with completing advance planning documents such as powers of attorney and living wills. Most people can be helped within an hour. A volunteer can provide meaningful pro bono services to multiple people by committing to a single afternoon. Many clients express that a weight has been lifted off their shoulders after they have these essential documents completed, especially since they would not be able to afford an attorney to complete them.
You do not need to have previous experience with advance planning documents to volunteer. I am happy to personally go over the basics with you before the clinic and will be present to answer any questions that arise.
I’m looking for new volunteers from the Young Lawyers Division to assist with clinics taking place on the afternoons of February 25th and February 26th in central Denver. For more information on the upcoming clinics and how to volunteer, please call me at (303) 837-2881 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.