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Bar News - April 19, 2013

Unbundled Services Offer Legal Lifeline

Sign up for April 30 Pro Bono training to serve clients affected by domestic violence

Volunteer lawyers can and do positively improve outcomes for pro se litigants by providing unbundled legal services. The Pro Bono program has been doing that for survivors of domestic violence for several years through the North Country Outreach, a part of the NH Bar Pro Bono Program’s DOVE Project.

Pro Bono is preparing a statewide expansion of this means of serving clients. This program, which enlists the support of crisis center advocates and other disciplines, enables Pro Bono attorneys to serve low-income victims of domestic abuse, who would not otherwise receive legal assistance, in a clinic setting.

A half-day seminar, "Unbundled Legal Services for Victims of Domestic Abuse – Supporting Attorney Efforts to Empower the Pro Se Litigant," is scheduled for April 30 at the Bar Center. The program is intended for experienced family lawyers who have some time to give, but who cannot commit to full-scope representation.

What this delivery model offers

Clients: Domestic violence survivors receive services from skilled family law practitioners working with the support of crisis center advocates who are familiar with and have access to many local services.

Volunteer lawyers: Attorneys can perform discrete legal tasks, such as case assessment, preparing clients for hearings, reviewing agreements, or drafting documents in a limited-scope representation, providing vital assistance to clients nearby or in different parts of the state without the commitment and time of full-scale representation.

Member Feedback

Pro Bono earlier this month circulated a survey to a group of potential volunteers to obtain feedback on the concept and refine the training program.

This clinic approach to legal services offers a legal-services lifeline to self-represented litigants where there are no other resources available. Unfortunately, the demand for free legal assistance far outstrips the capacity of New Hampshire’s volunteer lawyers and staffed legal services programs.

Register online. If you have questions, contact DOVE Coordinator Pam Dodge, 603-715-3230.

As part of this statewide rollout, the Pro Bono Program is circulating a survey to practitioners who form the pool of likely volunteers with the expertise to provide unbundled family law and other general legal services. Pro Bono is interested in collecting initial reactions to the concept, to help address potential concerns and refine the design of the program, the training seminar and a related NHBA CLE program planned for this fall.

Supreme Court Rule 42(9) requires all NH admitted attorneys to notify the Bar Association of any address change, home or office.

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