Q. What is Call4Law? A. Call4Law is a Statewide Legal Services pro bono project that allows volunteer attorneys to conduct one-hour telephone consultations with pre-screened eligible low-income Statewide Legal Services (SLS) clients. Attorneys provide phone advice in their own office or home, at the attorney’s convenience.
Q. How do I volunteer? A. Contact Claudia Magnan (Pro Bono Coordinator). Tell her how many calls you would like to take each month and in what substantive area. Claudia can be reached at (860) 852-1252 or at email@example.com.
Q. When can I start? A. After receiving your information, SLS staff will be able to assign a client to you within a couple of weeks.
Q. In which areas of law can I help? A. There is a particular need in cases involving divorce, custody, and guardianship, as well as other areas such as employment law, landlord/tenant law, consumer law (bankruptcy, debt collection cases, automobile cases).
Q. What training and/or assistance will I get from Statewide Legal Services? A. At your request, SLS will provide you with substantive law training and may offer group trainings. We are creating online classes that will train you to take calls in many areas of law. Email Claudia Magnan (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out which classes are available now.
Q. How do clients contact me? How do I contact them? A. SLS staff will provide you with the client's contact information by email and you will call the client within one week.
Q. Will I have any information about the client's case or problem before we talk? A. Yes. SLS staff will send you the client's name and contact information, the adverse party (if any), and a concise statement about the case. You will be given scripts so you can explain the limited service that you will provide the client, and explain that you will not provide any additional legal services beyond the telephone interview and advice.
Q. What happens if I don’t know the answer to a client’s question? A. Easy – just tell the client that you will call them back. You can research the issue or call our office. In most cases, we will be able to provide you with the answers. There is no pressure to provide the advice in one phone call. Pretty soon you will be an expert.
Q. What happens to the case once I provide the written summary to SLS? A. Once you return the summary, SLS will send the client a closing letter detailing the advice provided. If SLS determines that additional services should be offered to the client, the client will be informed that the case is being referred to a SLS local office. The local office may assign the case to a staff attorney, may attempt to refer the case to a local volunteer attorney, or may determine that no attorney is available to provide further assistance. In any event, the client will be promptly notified.
Q. What happens if a client keeps calling me after I have completed the interview and provided the written summary to SLS? A. During the client's first contact with SLS, a SLS staff member tells the client that the referral is for a specific issue/case. If the client calls the volunteer attorney for a new, different issue, the attorney should tell the client to contact Statewide Legal Services (1-800-453-3320). To date, we have not had any complaints about this from a volunteer Call4Law attorney.
Q. What should I do if I want to help this client beyond Call4Law? A. SLS will be happy to hear that you want to provide additional pro bono service. Email or call the Pro Bono Coordinator. SLS will contact the client and periodically contact you to learn about the status of the case. You will be given pro bono credit for all time you spend on the case and you will continue to be covered by our malpractice insurance.
Q. What happens if I am not able to take a case during the week for which I have volunteered? A. No worries. Email or call SLS about any schedule change that may arise and select another week to volunteer.
Q. Will I be covered by malpractice insurance? A. Yes, Statewide Legal Services provides malpractice coverage to all volunteers who accept client cases.