When Is the VRLC's Next Pro Bono Attorney Training?
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.
What is the Victim Rights Law Center?
Established in 2003, the Victim Rights Law Center (VRLC) is the first nonprofit law center in the nation solely dedicated to serving the civil legal needs of sexual assault victims. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Violence Against Women recognized our legal work and pro bono attorney training as a model worthy of national replication, and funded the VRLC to launch a direct services program with a pro bono program in 2012 on the west coast in Oregon.
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 victims’ needs that fall outside the criminal process. The fear and emotional turmoil that follows an assault can destabilize a 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 this critical support. With the assistance of pro bono attorneys and legal paraprofessionals, the VRLC provides free civil legal assistance to over 500 sexual assault survivors annually in Massachusetts.
Why Volunteer with the Victim Rights Law Center?
Volunteer attorneys and legal paraprofessionals gain personal and professional satisfaction in providing survivors with legal support to re-establish their lives. Volunteering with the VRLC is an opportunity for personal growth in connecting with and helping those in need, as well as forging a relationship with widely recognized community organization. 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 personal finance.
Volunteers conduct legal research, and draft amicus briefs and legislation regarding the rights of sexual assault survivors. The VRLC screens and retains all cases, while supervising and mentoring volunteers. Most cases are a 15-20 hour time commitment, the encouraged amount of volunteer hours for lawyers.
How Do I Become a VRLC Pro Bono Attorney?
Participation is open to attorneys and legal paraprofessionals who practice in Massachusetts and Oregon. For more information, or to RSVP to our next training, please contact us.