Community Legal Services, Inc. » What We Do » Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP)
Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP)

“I became a lawyer because I wanted to help make a difference in my community, and I do that every day. But nothing compares to the difference I make when I volunteer my time with the VLP. Those clients would not benefit from our justice system if it weren’t for volunteer attorney programs ensuring that everyone has access—not just those who can afford to hire an attorney. It’s a joy to be able to use my skills to help people in this important way—and I get to see the benefits of my work. Recently, I helped protect a disabled mom and her children from abuse—it was the best feeling ever!”

—V.N., Volunteer Attorney, Scottsdale, Arizona

The Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP), a joint project of CLS and the Maricopa County Bar Association, provides civil legal assistance to low-income Maricopa County residents. VLP clients receive legal advice, brief service or direct representation by private attorneys who volunteer their time and services.

Direct Representation: Attorneys volunteer to assist clients with problems related to housing, employment, consumer, debt collection, and family law.

Debt Collection and Bankruptcy Clinics: Volunteer attorneys provide advice to persons seeking relief from debt. Document preparation and review is also available.

The Children’s Law Center: Volunteer attorneys address the needs of at risk youth in numerous ways.  Volunteer Attorneys serve as Court Appointed Advisors in high conflict family law cases to represent the best interests of the children.  Attorneys also volunteer to represent caretakers in obtaining guardianship’s and adoptions of vulnerable children when their parents are unable or unwilling to care for them.  Special education cases are also referred to attorneys to ensure at risk youth are getting these services they desperately need.  The free advice clinic BELOW is part of the Children’s Law Center as well.

Free Advice Clinic for Teens—F.A.C.T.:
Homeless teenagers receive assistance from volunteer attorneys who visit shelters and other sites to provide advice and brief services related to a variety of legal concerns of teens and youth.  Guardianship clinics are offered at various sites in order to assist more caretakers in obtaining the needed court order to care for and provide necessities for the children in their homes.   Teens @ work is another project offering employment law training to teens at local high schools in order to prepare them for the workforce.  It informs them of their rights and responsibilities on the job and helps protect them from being exploited.

Family Lawyers Assistance Project—F.L.A.P.: Persons representing themselves (pro per) in family law cases receive legal assistance and brief services. Half-hour consultations are scheduled with volunteer attorneys at the Superior Courts in Phoenix and Mesa.

HIV/AIDS Law Project: Volunteer attorneys provide assistance to persons diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. Services include the preparation of wills and health care powers of attorney documents.

Tenants’ Rights Clinic: Volunteer attorneys provide legal advice and brief service to persons having disputes with landlords. Clients are provided with a Tenants’ Rights Handbook including sample letters designed to assist in communication with landlords.

To find out more or to inquire about joining the Volunteer Lawyers Program, click here to send us an email»

Volunteer Lawyers Program Advisory Committee—2010

Maricopa County Bar Association Appointments
Stefanie A. Layton, Esq., Chair
Patrick X. Fowler, Esq.
Richard B. Siever, Esq.Community Legal Services Appointments

Hon. Brian S. Rees, Co-Chair
Gregorio M. Garcia, Esq. (Ex-Officio until July 2012)

Law College Appointment
Dean Douglas J. Sylvester
Michelle Roddy, Esq.
Dean Shirley Mays
Kristina Cervone, Esq.Ex-Officio Members
Patricia J. Gerrich, Esq.
Gregorio M. Garcia, Esq. (CLS Board President)
Lillian O. Johnson, Esq.
Jennifer A. Cranston, Esq. (MCBA Board President)
Allen W. Kimbrough, J.D. (MCBA Executive Director)

Special Advisors
Kenneth W. Burford, Esq.
Tiffany S. Erickson
Justice Frank X. Gordon, Jr.
James R. Gough
Lynne C. Adams, Esq.
Marc Kalish, Esq.
Susan L.B. Lagerman, Esq.
Chris Moeser, Esq.
Michael R. Ross, Esq.
Dawn C. Valdivia, Esq.
Jennifer N. Ward, Esq.

Liaisons for MCBA
Laurie Williams
Laura Kimball