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
Volunteering with the Victim Rights Law Center
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
- Conduct direct and cross-examinations of witnesses and the defendant(s)
- Prepare your client for a school disciplinary process or obtain an educational accommodation
- Negotiate with a school, employer, and/or housing official, as well as the perpetrator’s counsel, to settle claims before they reach final adjudication
- Apply for legal status for an immigrant survivor
- Provide representation in Superior or District Court (in Massachusetts only)
The VRLC screens and retains all cases, while supervising and mentoring volunteers. Most 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.