Volunteer

Lawyer Opportunities

Judicare Attorneys

MMLS pays private attorneys a modest fee to handle certain cases through its Judicare (reduced fee) program.

Judicare attorneys must be approved by the MMLS Board of Directors before being referred cases.  Please contact Michael Matthews, MMLS Volunteer Lawyers Project Coordinator, for further information.

Because Judicare attorneys are paid a fee by MMLS to handle those cases, Judicare attorneys must obtain their own professional liability coverage.  The State Legal Expense Fund (105.711 RSMO) does not cover attorneys who provide reduced fee services.

 

Pro Bono Attorneys

The Pro Bono Panel is the primary form of attorney volunteerism through Mid-Missouri Legal Services.  Attorneys may volunteer to provide limited services or extended representation in any civil substantive law area approved by MMLS to qualifying clients.

Applicants are screened by MMLS for financial eligibility and merit assessment.  MMLS projects the amount of time required for each case, and cases then are referred to appropriate pro bono attorneys who voluntarily accept them.  Pro bono attorneys are not forced to accept any referral.  Your choice to accept a pro bono referral is based on your availability and comfort with both the time commitment and subject matter of the case.  If a case becomes more complicated than initially anticipated, MMLS will review it for representation by an MMLS staff attorney or another pro bono attorney who has sufficient time to handle the case, and you may withdraw.

Cases do not have to originate at MMLS.  If you have a client who comes to your office but has financial limitations, you may refer the client to MMLS.  If the client financial qualifies for MMLS services, you still may accept that client on a pro bono basis.

MMLS refers any type of non-fee-generating civil case to a pro bono attorney, based on the client’s needs and the attorney’s expertise.  When you apply for the Pro Bono Panel, you will indicate which types of cases you wish to accept.  If you would like to expand your knowledge and skills, MMLS offers resources including MMLS staff attorney guidance, private attorney mentors, and forms and research materials to assist you.

When you join the MMLS Pro Bono panel, you are eligible for coverage under the State Legal Expense Fund (105.711 RSMO) if a malpractice judgment is entered against you.

 

Legal Aid to Veterans Program

The MMLS Legal Aid to Veterans Clinic is a weekly drop-in clinic, conducted at the Harry S. Truman V.A. Hospital in Columbia, which provides veterans an opportunity to consult with an attorney and obtain legal assistance or referral.  The Veterans Clinic is staffed by an MMLS attorney who meets with veterans individually to determine their legal problem, assists them when possible and, otherwise, refers them to an appropriate service provider.  Veterans who have legal problems that fall within the scope of MMLS’s Priorities are assisted by MMLS pro bono or staff attorneys.  MMLS provides representation to veterans in a wide range of civil issues, including problems identified in the V.A.’s “CHALENG” Survey that are particularly troubling to veterans, such as restoration of driver’s licenses and child support modifications.  The Clinic refers veterans who are involved in civil cases in courts outside Missouri to an LSC-funded legal aid program in the other state.  Veterans with other legal problems are referred to local legal resources for assistance.

 

Pro Bono Mentoring Program

Attorneys who have established law practices may lack the time to accept pro bono cases requiring extended representation in court and administrative proceedings.  MMLS needs experienced attorneys who are willing to mentor newer or less experienced attorneys who want to provide pro bono services to MMLS clients but have not acquired the same level of expertise as experienced practitioners.

Please consider serving as a mentor to a less experienced attorney in the civil substantive law area(s) of your choice.  Your knowledge of a particular substantive area and the court or administrative procedures involved can be invaluable to new attorneys who is learning the practice.  By coaching a newer lawyer, both of you can help an unrepresented client access the legal system.

 

Uncontested Divorce Clinic

MMLS regularly hosts an Uncontested Divorce Clinic, in which volunteer attorneys and law students assist clients in preparing pro se paperwork for dissolution without children or substantial property/debt. The process takes about two hours to complete. MMLS provides further assistance, oversight and follow-up with the client to ensure success, and the time commitment of the volunteer is limited to assistance provided at the clinic.

 

Law Student Opportunities

Domestic Violence Clinic/Family Violence Clinic

In cooperation with the University of Missouri School of Law’s Family Violence Clinic, the domestic violence attorney at MMLS supervises eight to ten law students each semester and teaches them the skills and legal knowledge required to assist clients with Order of Protection cases.

Students must be Rule 13-eligible and must apply to the Family Violence Clinic through the School of Law in order to participate in the MMLS domestic violence clinic. Students selected assist clients in Adult and Child Order of Protection cases, under the supervision of the domestic violence attorney.

Students selected handle all aspects of the client’s case, including client and witness interviews, drafting of pleadings and other written correspondence, negotiating with opposing parties and attorneys, and representing the client in court proceedings.

For more information regarding the Domestic Violence clinic, contact Roger Dyer, Domestic Violence Program Director, at 573-442-0116.

 

Landlord/Tenant Practicum

Volunteers3In cooperation with the University of Missouri School of Law, the housing attorney at MMLS teaches six law students each semester the skills and legal knowledge required to assist clients with housing issues. Students must apply and be selected by the housing attorney to participate in the practicum. Students selected assist clients, under the supervision of the housing attorney, in various housing-related issues. Each semester, students assist low-income tenants facing eviction, enforcing minimum living standards and many other housing issues.

Volunteers4

Students selected handle all aspects of the client’s case, including client and witness interviews, drafting of pleadings and other written correspondence, negotiating with landlords and other attorneys and representing the client in court proceedings.

For more information regarding the Landlord/Tenant Practicum, contact Michael Carney, Housing Director at 573-442-0116.

 

Uncontested Divorce Clinic

MMLS regularly hosts an Uncontested Divorce Clinic, in which volunteer attorneys and law students assist clients in preparing pro se paperwork for dissolution without children or substantial property/debt. The process takes about two hours to complete. MMLS provides further assistance, oversight and follow-up with the client to ensure success, and the time commitment of the volunteer is limited to assistance provided at the clinic.

Columbia Office

Jefferson City Office