What Does “Pro Bono” MEan?

Pro bono legal work is representation or advice that is given for free by an attorney to a client. The phrase comes from the Latin pro bono publico, which translates to “for the public good.” Pro bono is most often associated with legal work but can be used for any skilled volunteer work.


HOW DO I APPLY?

Applications are taken over the phone or online. The VLN staff is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to take your application and discuss the specifics of your legal matter. You can reach us at (574) 277-0075 or fill out an online application.


What areas do you serve?

We serve clients in Indiana’s District B, which is made up of the counties of St. Joseph, Elkhart, LaPorte, Starke, Marshall, and Kosciusko. You can see all of Indiana's Pro Bono Districts and find more information here.


HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR ME TO GET AN ATTORNEY?

A prospective client can expect the process of getting an attorney through the Volunteer Lawyer Network to take no less than 30 days. We need to have a more comprehensive interview with you, the client, several weeks after we initially talk with you, and it can take at least several weeks longer to get an attorney to help you, so we ask all of our prospective clients to expect to wait at least 30 days. You may get an attorney in less time, but often it takes even more time – it can even take months for us to find an attorney who is willing to take a case.


I HAVE A HEARING IN THE NEXT 30 DAYS. Can I Still get a Pro Bono Attorney?

If you have a hearing in the next 30 days, you may still be able to get a pro bono attorney through our program. Call our office first to speak with our staff, who, if there is any chance that we can take your case at all, will then tell you to ask the court for a continuance. If you can get a continuance in your case beyond 30 days, then we will be able to attempt to find you an attorney.


WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MY CASE IS REFERRED TO AN ATTORNEY?

If an attorney agrees to consider your matter, the VLN will send you a letter with the attorney’s name and contact information. You must contact the volunteer attorney within 10 days of receiving the letter and identify yourself as a VLN client. If you fail to contact the attorney in a timely manner, your case will be closed.

Referral to an attorney does not mean that you have been accepted as a client. If the attorney determines that he or she cannot continue with your matter after reviewing all the facts, or that your matter lacks merit, he or she may refer you back to the VLN or close your matter and report the reason to the VLN. If an attorney states your matter lacks merit, you will not be referred to another attorney. If an attorney withdraws for other reasons, the VLN will make every effort to find you another attorney.