For Pro Bono Attorneys

Upcoming Pro Bono Attorney Trainings

Please check our Events page for upcoming training opportunities.

If your law firm would like to host a pro bono attorney training, please e-mail us.

If you would like to be notified when the next pro bono training is scheduled for Massachusetts or Oregon, please e-mail us.

How to Become a VRLC Pro Bono Attorney

Participation is open to attorneys and legal paraprofessionals who practice in Massachusetts and Oregon. Attorneys who will be working directly with clients first need to attend one of the VRLC's pro bono attorney trainings.

Volunteering with the Victim Rights Law Center

While police and prosecutors may be able to arrest and try an assailant, there is only a 2% national conviction and incarceration rate, and such interventions cannot address many sexual assault victims’ needs that fall outside the criminal process. The safety concerns and emotional turmoil that follow an assault can destabilize an individual’s basic yet essential necessities, such as housing, employment, immigration, physical safety, and educational trajectory. Without the VRLC, many victims would have nowhere to turn for the legal help they need to re-stabilize their lives. With the assistance of pro bono attorneys and legal paraprofessionals, the VRLC provides free civil legal assistance to over 800 sexual assault survivors annually in Massachusetts and Oregon.

Volunteer attorneys and legal paraprofessionals gain personal and professional satisfaction by providing survivors with the legal support necessary to re-establish their lives. Volunteering with the VRLC is an opportunity for personal growth through connecting with and helping those in need, as well as forging a relationship with the VRLC, a nationally recognized leader in the victim rights movement. In addition, through training with and guidance from VRLC staff attorneys, volunteers expand and enrich their fluency in a variety of practice areas, such as privacy rights, sexual assault protection orders, housing, immigration, employment and education.

What to Expect If You Take a Case

As a pro bono attorney with the VRLC, you will be a powerful legal ally in a sexual assault survivor's recovery. You will provide zealous, pro bono advocacy and work with your client to try to minimize the impact of the complex legal problems triggered by sexual assault. You may have the opportunity to:

  • Help a sexual assault survivor obtain a protective order against the perpetrator
  • Prevent the release of a survivor's private records and information and shield your client’s medical and mental health records from subpoenas
  • Prepare your client for a school disciplinary process or obtain an educational accommodation
  • Negotiate with a school, employer, and/or housing official, oftentimes opposing counsel, to settle claims before they reach final adjudication
  • Apply for legal status for an immigrant survivor

The VRLC screens and retains all cases, while supervising and mentoring volunteers. Typically, cases are a 10-20 hour time commitment, which is the amount of yearly pro bono hours encouraged by most bar associations.  

Additional Pro Bono Opportunities

In addition to representing sexual assault survivors, pro bono attorneys may also help conduct impactful legal research, write amicus briefs, and draft legislation regarding the rights of sexual assault survivors. Because sexual assault survivors’ civil representation is an emerging area of law, you may use legal theories in new ways, creating new standards or changing outmoded procedures. Through your work, you can help improve systemic response to sexual violence.

With your help, we can give rape and sexual assault survivors what they need - a voice. Defendants are given zealous advocates. Victims deserve the same.

“Volunteering for the VRLC has been one of the highlights of my legal career. It’s been an honor to help represent survivors and do what little I can to give them some sense of peace and security so they can move forward and not live in fear.”                     - A VRLC Pro Bono Attorney