Volunteer Opportunities

Pro Bono Opportunities

Add "pro bono" to your profile in the membership directory along with your area of interest.

Gain experience, expand your practice areas, serve others! Free training is available in some practice areas!

Step 1: Add "Pro Bono" to your Profile in the Member Directory along with your areas of practice.

Active members who are willing to take referrals for pro bono cases should add "pro bono" to their directory entry.  Need-based clients frequently approach local organizations (Legal Services of Northern Michigan, Third Level Crisis Center, Women’s Resource Center) seeking legal representations. These organizations, when they are not able to provide direct legal assistance, would like to be search the Member Directory for counsel who have indicated a willingness to take occasional cases on a pro bono basis.  Every attorney has something to contribute, please add "pro bono" to your profile in the membership directory.

Step 2: Indicate your area of interest.

  • Family Law Clinic of Legal Services of Northern Michigan’s (LSNM): On the 3rd Thursday of each month from 6-8 pm.  RSVP for clients not required.  Volunteer attorneys provide legal assistance to clients in pro per divorces. The Clinic is held at Grace Episcopal Church, 341 Washington Street, Traverse City. The volunteer attorneys provide individual assistance to participants. The program relies on a small force of dedicated family law attorneys.  Contact: Mary Kavanaugh-Gahn, LSNM, (231) 941-0771.
  • Immigration Law Clinic:  Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON):  JFON is a project of the Central United Methodist Church that provides legal, educational, and advocacy services to local immigrants. JFON organizes periodic legal clinics, and seeks volunteer attorneys to assist with the clinics. Attorneys who speak a foreign language are welcome, though translators are available. Attorneys need not be specialized in immigration law, as JFON provides training materials and attorney support prior to and during the clinic.  Contact: Alline Beutler or Susan Norkowski, a.beutler@JFONWestmichigan.org or s.norkowski@JFONWestmichigan.org, (231) 620-1100, http://jfonwestmichigan.org/.
  • LSNM Internet Representation Project (IRP): The IRP is a website that allows qualified (income-based eligibility) clients to post a question to a private messaging system. The questions are answered by private volunteer attorneys. An IRP client can post at any time, or schedule a real time chat session with an attorney. Both the client and the attorney remain anonymous to insure complete privacy.  Contact Ken Penokie, LSNM Executive Director, (906) 786-2303. To view the site go to: http://www.lsnmirp.org/client.php/
  • Mediation at Conflict Resolution Services (CRS):  CRS provides free or low-cost mediation services to parties in Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Antrim, Benzie, Wexford and Missaukee counties, for a variety of disputes, both where the parties agree to mediation or where the Court has ordered it. Trained mediators may volunteer with CRS to assist in simple (up to 3 hour) or more complex mediation projects. Local attorneys, who are trained mediators, may contact CRS to join their list of volunteer mediators.   Contact Becky Rogan, CRS Director, info@CRSmediationTC.org (231) 941-5835.
  • The SBM Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) currently receives more than 500 calls each week from people looking for lawyers. Many of these are unable to find a match because there are not enough attorneys in some geographic areas or in some practice areas. For more than a year we've been revising and improving LRS. The resulting system produces far better matches for attorneys and consumers alike. We're ready to begin a significant marketing initiative to consumers and we need more lawyers to participate as panel members.

    Here are few examples of concrete improvements: Better matches mean a higher likelihood of securing paying clients than ever before. The new online platform now automates much of the tracking and reporting that attorneys had to do in the past. In addition to traditional cases, LRS has added Modest Means panels for family law and bankruptcy, and opportunities for attorneys to market Limited Scope practice.

    Click here to learn more about LRS

    Click here to learn more about joining one or more of our LRS panels

    Click here to learn more about Limited Scope practice

  • Michigan Indian Legal Services Pro Bono Program: Michigan Indian Legal Services (MILS) is seeking pro bono attorneys to help increase legal assistance to low income Native American communities in Michigan. MILS has a pro bono opportunity to fit your schedule, your location, and your practice area. You can volunteer as a pro bono volunteer to provide community legal education presentations to rural Native American communities in Michigan,
    provide mentoring or case consultation to MILS staff attorneys in your area of expertise, and
    directly represent MILS clients.

    Contact: Norika Kida Betti or Hank Fields at probono@mils3.org, or by calling 800-968-6877. Website: https://www.mils3.org/volunteer.