The court-based help desks are a valuable asset to not only low-income litigants, but also the Bar and courts around the state. These services facilitate more efficient dockets and courtroom experiences for all involved, and also relieve court staff of the precarious situation of helping people without providing legal advice or violating applicable rules of conduct. Individuals who visit the desks report a much greater and realistic understanding of their case, and also a more positive view of the court and legal system.
Attorneys who participate in these programs almost always find them to be a tremendous pro-bono opportunity. Volunteering generally requires a minimal time investment, does not carry the responsibilities of representation, and facilitates assistance to some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. Given the minimal time and resource investments necessary to provide a help desk/ask-a-lawyer event, the Bar has highlighted this opportunity to judicial districts around the state.
While those established help desks provide a variety of services, including court-approved forms, this may be much more involved than is possible at your one day event. The event you conduct can be as involved as you choose. We hope you will join in this effort and utilize the attached resources:
- See Rule 6.1 of the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct (Voluntary Pro Bono Public Service)
- Administrative documents:
- Sign-in Sheet Template
- Participant Verification Template
- Ask-a-Lawyer Day Flyer Template
- Press Release Template
- Volunteer attorneys may find the desk manual from Loyola University Law School helpful while volunteering at the courts. Click here for an online copy of the desk manual.
- Information to use at the help desk:
- Contact information for public interest/legal aid resources: www.lawhelp.org