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Volunteer Lawyer Program

Sponsored by the Skagit County Bar Association, Community Action's Volunteer Lawyer Program offers free legal assistance to eligible low-income Skagit County residents. The program is staffed by an Attorney/Program Manager and a Legal Assistant.  Each year, Skagit County attorneys donated about 1,500 volunteer hours to nearly 500 people for more than $260,000 worth of legal services.  Services include pro se (self-representation) family law forms and instructions, weekly legal advice clinics, and pro bono representation. Program staff also assist Spanish-speaking individuals in preparing pro se family law forms. 

For legal assistance, call CLEAR at 1-888-201-1014, Monday through Friday, from 9:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.  CLEAR is staffed by attorneys and paralegals who screen clients for eligibility and provides them with brief advice and services.  If further assistance is needed, CLEAR staff will refer the client to the Volunteer Lawyer Program.  For more information, please visit the NW Justice Project website.  

The Volunteer Lawyer Program can be reached directly at (360) 416-7585.


Family Law Legal Clinics

Volunteer attorneys staff legal clinics every Wednesday to answer questions about family law matters, including divorce, custody, child support, and parentage.  Eligible clients are scheduled for a 30-minute consultation with a volunteer attorney who can advise clients and review pro se (self-representation) forms.  If clients need further representation,  volunteer attorneys may take on the case themselves or refer the case back to the Program Manager who will attempt to find a volunteer attorney to assist that client. 

 

Other Legal Questions

For civil cases that don't involve family law, volunteer attorneys can provide free consultations in their office.   Clients must complete the same screening procedure to make sure that they are eligible.  The Program Manager will review cases and refer them to a volunteer attorney if appropriate.

 

Forms and Instructions

Pro se packets are available for family law matters, landlord/tenant issues, consumer law issues, debt defense, and other civil issues.  The Volunteer Lawyer Program also has forms to respond to an eviction notice.  The packets are sold for a nominal fee that can be waived if a client is unable to pay. 

 

Pro Bono Representation

If a client needs assistance beyond the legal clinics and pro se forms, and the case falls within the program priorities, the Program Manager will attempt to find a volunteer attorney to take the case.  Whether or not an attorney can accept a case pro bono depends on their area of practice and their schedule at the time.


Registered volunteer attorneys may attend Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars organized by the Volunteer Lawyer Program at reduced rates. Volunteers are also eligible for up to four CLE credits for direct pro bono representation, and are covered by professional liability insurance provided through the Legal Foundation of Washington for any direct pro bono representation performed on behalf of a Volunteer Lawyer Program client.


For more information, e-mail Community Action's Volunteer Lawyer Program, or call (360) 416-7585.

 

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