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Volunteer Opportunities

Catholic Charities Legal Assistance (CCLA) is a wonderful place for attorneys to make a difference in the lives of the indigent. The majority of our volunteer opportunities are designed for licensed attorneys. However, there are some opportunities for law students, paralegals and others simply interested in assisting. The following are CCLA'S volunteer opportunities click on each opportunity for more information:  
 CCLA’s greatest need currently is for attorneys to become part of our Pro Bono Network by accepting cases in their area of legal specialty. Once an attorney joins CCLA’s Pro Bono Network, volunteer attorneys are contacted via email with a brief summary of a case in the attorney’s specialty area. The attorney is always free to accept or decline a referral based on availability and interest. We ask that volunteers take cases only in the areas of law in which they have experience (unless supervised by a mentor, as described below).  
CCLA operates a telephone advice line for clients who face various legal issues. Volunteer attorneys, especially Spanish speaking, are needed to return phone calls which have been answered and summarized by an intake specialist. In returning the client’s call, , a volunteer attorney will provide basic advice and/or brief service and, when appropriate, make referrals.  The attorney also will assist in identifying cases appropriate for in-house representation in family, housing and consumer law or referral to an attorney within CCLA’s  Pro Bono Network.

Prior to working on the telephone advice line, each volunteer attorney is asked to complete a training, which provides six hours of free MCLE credit, on topics frequently encountered. Written training materials are provided to each participant, and CCLA staff attorneys are always available for consultations on particular calls as needed.

CCLA provides informational and educational seminars on a variety of topics of interest and concern to our clients at various Catholic Charities locations. The seminars are geared toward the lay person with the intent to deliver basic information. These seminars typically last thirty to sixty minutes followed by a question and answer period. Volunteer attorneys are needed to present such seminars. Sometimes a particular legal topic is requested by the coordinating Catholic Charities programs or partner organizations, but your suggestions for new seminar topics are welcomed.  
CCLA hosts a legal advice desk one Tuesday evening per month at Catholic Charities headquarters, located at 721 N. LaSalle St. in downtown Chicago. Additional help desks are sometimes held in a variety of suburban Catholic Charities locations, usually in the evening or on Sundays. Each of these advice desks is conducted for approximately 1 1/2 hours, providing attorneys with a pre-set, time limited volunteer opportunity. Volunteer attorneys meet with clients, discuss their concerns and may provide legal advice (if familiar with the area of law), distribute self-help materials and make appropriate referrals. Spanish speaking attorneys are particularly helpful at many of these events. One or more CCLA staff attorneys is present to assist with questions and client intake.  
CCLA is seeking experienced volunteer attorneys to act as mentors to less experienced attorneys taking on pro bono cases. The less experienced attorney will handle the majority of the work, simply using the mentor as an advisor. This will allow newer attorneys to handle pro bono cases and gain experience while allowing the mentor to volunteer in a less demanding capacity than taking on a case individually.  
On occasion, CCLA needs volunteers to research a particular legal question. Volunteers may, but are not required to, conduct the research at the CCLA office.  
Non-lawyers also can make a difference in the lives of our clients by giving of their time and talents. CCLA needs assistance with answering client phone calls, conducting initial client intake screenings, administrative responsibilities and fundraising. Spanish speaking individuals are particularly helpful.  

Request Information:

If you have any questions or are unable to download the Volunteer Packets (located on the right hand side of the screen), you may contact us by using our "Contact Us" form Click Here! OR by phone, email or mail:

Phone: (312) 948-6821

E-mail: hbahena@catholicchariteis.net


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Catholic Charities Legal Assistance
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago
721 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60654

 

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