Many attorneys around the country want to help asylum-seekers and other vulnerable immigrant populations by taking a pro bono case, but don’t have the necessary experience and guidance to provide zealous and confident representation. VECINA mentors are nationally recognized experts who guide attorneys who have taken on pro bono cases.
How It Works
If you or your nonprofit is interested in working with the VECINA mentoring program, you can expect the following process:
- You sign up to volunteer for a specific project;
- You take a case or your organization places the case;
- You sign the volunteer agreement and completes the introductory video training;
- VECINA mentors guide you throughout the course of the case;
- You change a life!
FAQs for Pro Bono Attorneys
Pro bono attorneys must complete our online introductory video training at the outset of your VECINA mentorship. Which specific training you complete depends on the volunteer opportunity.
Hands down the biggest issue we’ve seen with pro bono programs is taking ownership and responsibility over the cases. The pro bono attorneys, not the mentors, are the attorneys of record on these cases.
Pro bono attorneys are bound to the ethical obligations of their state bar, including those of competence, diligence, communication, and meeting deadlines. Additional VECINA requirements are the commitment to responding to emails within 2 business days, and meeting specific deadlines set by the mentor and mentee for drafts of briefing and other case milestones.
While it is up to each individual mentor to determine their role in the case, generally mentors will not be present at the final hearings and/or interviews.
Yes! If you take a case for full representation, VECINA’s malpractice insurance will cover you. We just ask that you track your hours so we can provide them to our insurance carrier when we renew each year.
How you communicate with your client to prepare the case depends on where you and your client are located. If your client is geographically separated from you, most can be contacted via WhatsApp. If your client is detained, setting up phone calls or visits at the detention facility is usually the best option.
There is a desperate need for attorneys to represent asylum seekers and other vulnerable immigrant populations, and there are not enough immigration lawyers to fulfill all the need. In fact, we fall far short. By taking on a pro bono asylum case, you could literally be saving a life. At the very least, you are standing up for a fellow human being in their time of need.
Support Our Program
Our mentors are paid for their time spent as mentors, and at this time we’re depend on your generosity to keep the program going! If you’d like to make a donation, please visit our donations page. If you are a nonprofit organization looking to place multiple cases, please contact us at email@example.com regarding funding.