New Mexico Legal Aid Volunteer Attorney Program
The Volunteer Attorney Program's (VAP) mission is to expand and support an active statewide network of volunteer attorneys, paralegals, and law students to meet the civil justice needs of low-income New Mexicans in all communities throughout the state. The VAP works in close collaboration with the State Bar of New Mexico, the New Mexico Supreme Court's Commission on Access to Justice, local Judicial District Pro Bono Committees, the UNM School of Law, private bar partners, courts, and other legal services providers to plan and coordinate the delivery of high-quality pro bono legal services through direct representation, individual client counseling, community legal fairs, and other innovative strategies.
New Mexico has an aspirational goal for all attorneys to provide 50 hours of pro bono service each year or in the alternative to making financial contributions that support legal services for low-income New Mexicans. As the number of New Mexicans facing poverty increases, so does the demand for legal assistance for clients who have serious legal issues but cannot afford a private attorney. Pro bono attorneys are essential in meeting this need and bridging the justice gap.
The VAP encourages attorneys to handle at least two pro bono matters for low-income clients totaling at least 20 hours per year. There are additional opportunities for attorneys to fulfill these hours through participation in legal fairs, pro se clinics, a veterans clinic in Albuquerque, and pro bono month celebrations.
The VAP offers some incentives to attorneys that handle pro bono matters including free CLE's, access to research tools, office space, mentors, and co-counseling opportunities. Attorneys who accept cases are covered by New Mexico Legal Aid's malpractice insurance.
How to get Involved
Be a mentor.
Get involved on a special project.
Provide advice and counsel at legal fairs and clinics.
Provide direct representation to clients.
Sign up at NM.freelegalanswers.org to answer civil legal questions in a virtual legal clinic.
Teach a CLE.
For more information and to sign up to volunteer, please call 505-814-6719.
Justice for Families
New Mexico Legal Aid's new Justice for Families Project (JFP) was created in December 2015 to help address the problem of a lack of access to civil legal assistance for low-income families living in the poorest rural New Mexico counties. The project recruits and supports pro bono attorneys, paralegals, and volunteer law students residing in the three urban centers in the state: Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Las Cruces. Rural families connect to the volunteers through video chat and a secure web portal to work through a case. The Justice for Families project partners with the Southwest Women's Law Center's "One Woman, One Case, Once a Year" campaign and the Woman's Bar Association to recruit volunteers. Visit their website to locate resources for volunteers and submit a volunteer application.