Help us help you help them!

By: Harry Higgins, HJP Kent Program Coordinator

Are you a volunteer attorney working for a pro bono service that seems to just be getting busier and busier? Are you seeing more clients than ever before, with a wider variety of problems? Volunteer attorneys at the Housing Justice Project clinics in Kent and Seattle have seen an enormous number of clients in the past few months, with little signs of slowing down.

HJP clients are qualified low-income tenants who are facing eviction matters. Our volunteer attorneys advise our clients on eviction notices, help them answer eviction paperwork, negotiate with landlord attorneys on their behalf, and even represent them at eviction show cause hearings. We have seen a steady increase in the numbers of clients served each of the past few years, with all of the clinics combined handling almost 3,000 client visits in 2011.

This workload can be trying on our volunteer attorneys. Fortunately, HJP staff members are here to help you, but we need your help too. How? By helping us build up our roster of volunteers. There are a number of ways you can pitch in and help us help you help our clients:

  • Do you work in a practice with several staff attorneys? Team up! HJP has several firms volunteer on a regular basis that form teams of volunteers who commit to one or more monthly shifts at HJP. When it is the team’s turn, they decide which members of the team can cover the shift (usually two), leaving the others to take a turn later.
  • Do you know any retired or emeritus attorneys? Suggest they can volunteer at HJP and keep in practice.
  • Do you know any attorneys that work in a non-lawyer position? HJP (and other KCBA Pro Bono services) is a great place to satisfy their desire to be a lawyer and put their skills to good use.

Remember, the Housing Justice Project and other Pro Bono services could not function without committed volunteers. HJP staff members want our volunteers to have a quality experience, which includes a workload that is not overwhelming. We are always trying to recruit new volunteers, and you can help us improve the client experience by telling your associates, partners and friends about the opportunities available at HJP.

So, help us help you help them. A visit to the Housing Justice Project can be a satisfying experience for tenants and volunteers alike, with a committed corps of volunteers.

The King County Bar Association volunteer application may be found here: http://www.kcba.org/pbs/volunteer_app.aspx. Contact Harry F. Higgins, harryh@kcba.org, or Gwen Remmen, gwenr@kcba.org, for more information about volunteering at HJP.

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