Volunteering Opportunities

Last Modified: 05/14/2022

Join us in making a difference in the lives of others. Become a pro bono attorney.

CLSMF offers a variety of ways you can engage with our mission to deliver justice for all central Floridians. Here are common ways that you can participate in our mission:

Volunteer to represent one of our clients pro bono through individual case acceptance;

  • Give legal advice at one of our many regional legal clinics, either remotely or in person;

  • Engage in a mentorship agreement with CLSMF to  help our lawyers expand their areas of expertise or work with them to expand your own legal expertise;

  • Litigate with our lawyers through a co-counseling agreement;

  • Create pro se materials to distribute online or by informational brochure;

  • Conduct Continuing Legal Education credit courses for other lawyers.

 

Click this button to view and register for our current opportunities:

 

 

Pro Bono Attorneys

Be part of a team of experienced attorneys, paralegals and advocates who work to keep Central Floridians in their homes, put food on their tables, get the medical care that they need and ensure that they live with dignity and respect.

After you sign up, our pro bono team will contact you to discuss current pro bono opportunities and how you can help. They will provide you with guidance, tools, and the support you need along the way.

In addition to resources, CLSMF also offers malpractice insurance for services rendered on pro bono cases.

Are you a retired lawyer or licensed outside of Florida?  Contact us to find out more.

What are the Pro Bono Rules?

Florida Bar Rule 4-6.1 establishes an aspirational professional responsibility to annually provice twenty (20) hours of pro bono legal services for the poor or contribute $350 to a legal aid organization. The rule also requires that attorneys report their compliance each year.

Can I get credit for doing more than 20 hours of pro bono legal services in one year?

Yes. The hours in excess of twenty (20) hours may be carried forward and reported for up to two (2) succeeding years.

How much time will volunteering take?

The amount of time you’ll spend varies depending on the type of opportunity you choose. Our pro bono team will match you with opportunities that fit your availability and level of committment.

What is the difference between community service and pro bono service?

Pro bono service involves the provision of free legal services. Attorneys who participate in bar association activities, volunteer to serve on the board of a nonprofit, or serve on a professional association’s board or committee are providing community or public service, unless they provide free legal assistance as part of their activities.

Our pro bono attorneys work with our clients on a variety of issues including:

  • Family Law
  • Disaster-Related Legal Matters
  • Simple Estate & Probate
  • Consumer Law
  • Housing
  • Bankruptcy
  • Employment
  • Guardian Advocacy

You can also provide educational trainings to clients and to other attorneys.

We encourage you to ask for attorneys’ fees. If fees are awarded, you may keep the fees. You can also choose to donate part or all of those fees to CLSMF. We will provide you with the necessary documentation to qualify for a tax deduction.

You do not have to pay for expenses related to the case. We will either arrange for payment of expenses or reimburse you. You may also choose to contribute the costs of the case to CLSMF. Contact us to find out how you can make your tax deductible gift.

You can perform pro bono work out of your preferred location or in one of our ten offices throughout Central Florida. Our pro bono team will help you coordinate meeting space in one of our locations when you need it.

Remote participation opportunities are also available.

Pro bono service is legal assistance provided without charge or expectation of fees at the time of service. Legal services written off as a bad debt or a case in which an attorney cannot collect a fee do not qualify as pro bono.

By handling your pro bono work through CLSMF, your efforts can be directed to the areas most needed. We keep a record of the hours you report, pay for reasonable and necessary litigation costs, and provide malpractice insurance coverage.

If one of my clients cannot pay for my services, can that be considered pro bono service?

Contact us and we will complete an intake for the client. If the client falls within our eligibility guidelines, the case can be processed as a pro bono case.

Non-Attorney Volunteers

As part of our Volunteer Involvement Program (V.I.P.), CLSMF offers internships, externships, and volunteer opportunities to law school students, undergraduate students, paralegals, and other community members. Please note that we are fortunate to receive a number of inquiries and can only respond to those inquiries that most align with our current volunteer staffing needs.

To contact the V.I.P. and learn about volunteer opportunities, please email us at [email protected].

This is a volunteer opportunity.

Volunteers are eligible for certification of volunteer hours completed.

Application Deadline: Ongoing

 Description:

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida (CLSMF) is seeking a Fair Housing Tester to act as a home seeker to simulate housing transactions such as renting or purchasing a home for the purposes of gathering credible and objective information about housing market practices.

The Fair Housing Tester will be responsible for:

  1. Participating in real time telephone tours of rental housing including learning about available units, rental rates, and property amenities. Testers may also be required to testify about their test experience.
  2. Managing competing priorities, control time and content-sensitive projects within a flexible environment, and be articulate with polished writing, communication, and interpersonal skills.
  3. Successfully complete the Fair Housing Training program.
  4. Conducting test(s) in accordance with test assignment(s), instructions, and general testing guidelines.
  5. Reporting test experiences in a factual, accurate, objective, and complete manner.
  6. Maintaining communication with the Fair Housing Testing Coordinator throughout duration of testing investigation and submit all materials received during tests.
  7. Providing sworn statements and testimony in depositions, trials, and other legal proceedings as needed. Maintain Confidentiality about all testing activities.
  8. This is a volunteer position with the ability to work both scheduled and flexible work hours, including some evenings/weekends, based on business needs to perform duties, attend meetings and/or other functions within or outside the CLSMF 12-county service area.

  Qualifications:

  • Multilingual (highly preferred).
  • Experience in civil rights and the enforcement of equal housing opportunities (preferred).
  • Excellent phone manner and professional customer service ability required, with superior organizational and highly polished communication and writing skills.
  • Must have access to internet and be computer literate using Word, Excel, Microsoft Suite, and Adobe PDF programs.
  • Valid Florida automobile license, use of own auto, and proof of insurance necessary.

CLSMF offers a wide range of options for volunteer opportunities as well as externships for course credit or service learning. Each school sets its own requirements for externships (academic credit), usually requiring a minimum number of hours per semester.  Students should contact their school internship/externship or career services program to learn about the school’s requirements for receiving academic credit including application deadlines, minimum number of service hours, etc. before contacting CLSMF.

If you’re not concerned about receiving academic credit, we do offer unpaid, non-credit volunteer opportunities.  We require volunteers to agree to a minimum four-month commitment.

Community members, be they practicing paralegals, other non-legal professionals, or lay-persons are encouraged to inquire about our volunteer opportunities.

CLSMF loves volunteers and we can’t do our work without them. Here at CLSMF, we value eagerness to help us in our mission to deliver top quality legal services in Central Florida, flexibility in accepting work assignments, and a dose of humor and creativity to make it all come together. In most cases prior experience is not necessary and we will train you in the relevant law and procedure. CLSMF utilizes volunteers during traditional business hours.

Florida Pro Bono Matters

CLSMF is continuously working to expand its reach in the community. Pro bono attorneys can now choose cases through an interactive website called Florida Pro Bono Matters (floridaprobonomatters.org). The website is expected to increase the accessibility and convenience for CLSMF pro bono attorneys by allowing them to choose the cases.

Click here to view a list of CLSMF client cases that are posted for placement on the Florida Pro Bono Matters website.

Next Steps

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Check your eligibility.

Find out if you are eligible for free legal assistance.

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Give Us A Call

If you still need assistance, give us a call at (800) 405-1417

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