Pro Bono Opportunities in the Grand Traverse Region
Third Level Crisis Center Free Legal Aid Clinic (FLAC): The FLAC provides up to 15 first-come first-served clients the opportunity to receive private, free, confidential legal advice from volunteer attorneys. The Clinic is held every Tuesday beginning at 7:00 pm at Third Level Crisis Intervention Center, Inc., 1022 E. Front Street, Traverse City. The commitment is typically two or three times per year, as FLAC rotates the scheduled attorneys throughout the year. Contact: Ruth Anderson, Clinic Coordinator, (231) 922-4800.
Legal Services of Northern Michigan’s (LSNM) Family Law Clinic: On the 2nd Thursday of each month from 7pm to 9 pm. Volunteer attorneys provide legal assistance to clients in pro per divorces. The Clinic is held at the Women’s Resource Center, 720 S. Elmwood, Traverse City. The volunteer attorneys provide individual assistance to participants. The program relies on a small force of dedicated family law attorneys. Contact: Mary Kavanaugh-Gahn, LSNM, (231) 941-1210.
Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) Immigration Clinic: JFON is a project of the Central United Methodist Church that provides legal, educational, and advocacy services to local immigrants. JFON organizes periodic legal clinics, and seeks volunteer attorneys to assist with the clinics. Attorneys who speak a foreign language are welcome, though translators are available. Attorneys need not be specialized in immigration law, as JFON provides training materials and attorney support prior to and during the clinic. Contact: Alline Beutler or Susan Norkowski, a.beutler@JFONWestmichigan.org or s.norkowski@JFONWestmichigan.org, (231) 620-1100, http://jfonwestmichigan.org/.
Grand Traverse County (86th District Court) Eviction Diversion Clinic: This is a new program organized by the Department of Human Services, in partnership with the 86th District Court and Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency, to assist tenants facing eviction. Housing Hour takes place Monday and Wednesday mornings, before land/tenant cases go before the judge, and offers services to try to avoid eviction. Housing Hour seeks a legal volunteer to be on hand at the District Courthouse on Wednesday mornings, to provide legal assistance (there are also housing, funding, and other experts available). LSNM has offered to provide legal training for attorney volunteers. The Court would like a small cadre of trained volunteers to rotate assistance. Contact Carol Stocking, Court Administrator, email@example.com, (231) 922-4502, and let her know you’d like to volunteer, and would like training (if applicable).
LSNM Internet Representation Project (IRP): The IRP is a website that allows qualified (income-based eligibility) clients to post a question to a private messaging system. The questions are answered by private volunteer attorneys. An IRP client can post at any time, or schedule a real time chat session with an attorney. Both the client and the attorney remain anonymous to insure complete privacy. Contact Ken Penokie, LSNM Executive Director, (906) 786-2303. To view the site go to: http://www.lsnmirp.org/client.php/
Community Mediation at Conflict Resolution Services (CRS): CRS provides free or low-cost mediation services to parties in Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Antrim, Benzie, Wexford and Missaukee counties, for a variety of disputes, both where the parties agree to mediation or where the Court has ordered it. Trained mediators may volunteer with CRS to assist in simple (up to 3 hour) or more complex mediation projects. Local attorneys, who are trained mediators, may contact CRS to join their list of volunteer mediators. Contact Becky Garland, CRS Director, info@CRSmediationTC.org (231) 941-5835.
Pro Bono Referral List: This is a relatively informal effort to maintain a list of local attorneys who are willing to take referrals for pro bono cases. Need-based clients frequently approach local organizations (Legal Services of Northern Michigan, Third Level Crisis Center, Women’s Resource Center) seeking legal representations. These organizations, when they are not able to provide direct legal assistance, would like to be able to refer appropriate cases to counsel who have indicated a willingness to take occasional cases on a pro bono basis. Currently, each organization maintains its own Pro Bono Referral List. Please contact each organization directly, to be placed on their list: LSNM: Mary Kavanaugh-Gahn (231) 941-1210; Third Level Crisis Center: Ruth Anderson, (231) 922-4800; Women’s Resource Center: Juliette Schulz, (231) 941-1210.