The Oklahoma County Bar Association
Legal Aid Committee
Pro Bono Opportunities in Oklahoma County
The lawyers of the Oklahoma County Bar Association have dedicated their careers to the pursuit of justice and the betterment of society. Pro bono service is a part of the commitment we make to our community. In Oklahoma County, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc., provides a wide variety of pro bono opportunities to take advantage of.
I. The Pro Bono Panel
Lawyers on the pro bono panel are referred cases directly from Legal Aid. These cases involve persons eligible to receive pro bono service from Legal Aid, but due to a lack of resources, the organization is unable to give them timely service. The pro bono attorney will take full responsibility for representation of the assigned client. The most common areas of law involved in the referred cases are domestic relations, landlord/tenant, debtor/creditor, criminal expungements, bankruptcy, foreclosures, and social security disability.
II. Self Referral of Cases
Attorneys can receive pro bono credit from Legal Aid of Oklahoma, Inc., through the process of self-referral. A self-referred case is a case a lawyer has accepted for pro-bono representation that did not originate from Legal Aid. When a client who may qualify for assistance through Legal Aid contacts an attorney for representation, the attorney may call Legal Aid for an eligibility screening. If the client meets the financial and other criteria, a pro-bono file will be established at Legal Aid for monitoring and other support services just as if the client has originated there. Self-referral of cases is a good way to provide legal services to the truly needy. The client is allowed representation by the attorney of his or her choice, without having to wait for a referral.
III. In-House Volunteers
Pro bono attorneys may serve as in-house volunteers at the Legal Aid offices. For those attorneys that can volunteer during normal business hours, Legal Aid can use your services at its office located at 2901 Classen Boulevard, Suite 112, in Oklahoma City. The Legal Aid staff can always use assistance in client intakes, legal research, document drafting, and discovery.
IV. Third Saturday Legal Clinic
The Third Saturday Legal Clinic is the perfect opportunity for lawyers who cannot take pro bono case referrals and are unable to work in the office during the week. On the third Saturday of every month, Legal Aid sponsors a free legal clinic at Epworth United Methodist Church located directly to the West of Classen High School at 1901 North Douglas Avenue. The legal clinic is offered in conjunction with a free medical clinic that is provided at the same time at the church. The lawyers at the clinic give legal advice to anyone who walks in while the clinic is open. The clinic lawyers also return phone calls from applicants that Legal Aid staff members were unable to return during the week. If legal services beyond consultation and counseling are required for qualified applicants, the cases are referred to the Legal Aid staff or the pro bono panel. The issues presented at the clinic are wide ranging, but there are always Legal Aid staff members and other attorneys available to provide guidance and assistance. Lawyers do not need to have any particular experience to participate in the clinic. Several different types of practice and experience levels are in attendance at each clinic. Many volunteers say that this is the most fulfilling pro bono service they have provided.
V. Speakers and Teachers
Legal Aid of Oklahoma, Inc., receives grants that require the organization to provide speakers to senior centers and other community venues on certain topics. Legal Aid also needs lawyers who can make CLE presentations in the programs it sponsors and in its monthly in-office training program. Volunteers for these projects are needed now and are greatly appreciated.
Benefits and Resources
¨ Lawyers who give 20 hours of pro bono service within a year will be eligible for a 50% discount on selected OBA sponsored CLE programs.
¨ Legal Aid CLE is free to pro bono attorneys.
¨ Legal Aid staff attorneys are available for consultation with pro bono attorneys on poverty law questions.
¨ Pro-bono attorneys are eligible to use Legal Aid's extensive poverty law library, including all of the National Consumer Law Center materials and the forms library.
¨ The malpractice insurance for Legal Aid covers pro bono attorneys offering services to Legal Aid clients.
If you would like to sign up for one of the pro bono volunteer opportunities, please contact:
Legal Aid Pro Bono Coordinator
2901 N. Classen Boulevard, Suite 112
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
Please visit the pro bono website at: www.probono.net/OK.
Making Equal Justice For All A Reality