Get the training & tools you need to volunteer
The need for legal services among the poor is overwhelming. Your experience volunteering with CVLS should not be. Every CVLS volunteer has access to a wide range of services and benefits designed to give you the tools you need, when you need them, to make your exposure to pro bono a rewarding one.
The ability to provide wide-ranging legal representation begins with a solid training foundation. As part of your initial training, CVLS staff attorneys will walk you through the basics of the field of law of your choice. More experienced attorneys benefit from regular training sessions to keep them apprised of relevant legal developments. Special training sessions are required before volunteering as a Domestic Relations Child Representative, Guardian Ad Litem for Minor or Disabled Adult, or participation in the Circuit Court of Cook County Foreclosure Mediation Program. CVLS staff is always available for individual and group trainings as needed.
Volunteers have access to written training manuals produced by CVLS staff attorneys on various areas of law, as well as step-by-step video manuals that will guide you through your case from start to finish. With 24 hour access to court forms, pleading templates, and samples, you will never need to worry about having what you need to complete your case.
We encourage our volunteers to use our office for their reception needs. Have your client call our office and we will take messages, transfer phone calls, accept mail and whatever else you need.
CVLS interview rooms, computers, and office space are at your disposal as you work through your pro bono cases. Just let us know and we will make sure we have room set aside for you.
Our malpractice insurance covers pro bono lawyers who volunteer with us at absolutely no cost to them. This insurance is primary to their firm’s existing malpractice insurance and covers all work done directly through or on behalf of CVLS. Please note that the malpractice insurance does not cover any cases that were not assigned by or affiliated with CVLS.
As part of our continuing commitment to the legal community, Chicago Volunteer Legal Services is pleased to offer seminars that provide CLE credit for absolutely no charge to our volunteers. This CLE credit can be applied to the minimum continuing legal education requirements for Illinois attorneys.
CVLS volunteers may attend seminars in person at our downtown location or watch archived seminars online from the comfort of their own home 24/7. Seminars lengths vary with most ranging between 1-2 hours.
Volunteers have access to our custom all-in-one online case management database designed for the modern pro bono practitioner. Our attorneys have the advantage of a complete case management solution allowing them to get organized with contacts, calendars, cases, documents, and time tracking. Compatible with any web browser, you can view the latest developments of your case, makes notes, or download important documents anytime, anywhere.
Law school doesn’t make lawyers, experience makes lawyers. Volunteering with CVLS will give you the chance to leave the desk and enter the courtroom to defend your client in their legal matters. Our pro bono programs are a great way for young attorneys to get the experiences they need to reach their potential.
Too often attorneys, from young associates to managing partners, can find themselves in a rut, doing the same case types day to day with no variation. Break the monotony by taking a case with CVLS that is outside your comfort zone. We offer a huge variety of cases ranging from family law to chancery. Let us support, train and mentor you as we develop your legal expertise in a new area of law.
Everyone knows that volunteering makes a lasting impact in the community served. What most people don’t realize is that the act of volunteering provides a very real benefit to the one serving.
It is an easy way to boost self-confidence, self-esteem and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Being a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. The better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.