Alexander Banks at Vermont Law School—Legal Clinic 1-18-08
This is a test
IN response to my e-mail asking about pro bono needs and opportunities at Law School.
There are 4 attorneys at the VLS clinic:
--Mary Ann Zavez who does women prisoner rights at the Windsor prison
--James May, head of the clinic
--Art Edrsheim who does immigration law state wide
--Alex Banks who does family law in Orange and Windsor, and also does a project called Children First in Orange, Windsor and Washington Counties.
Alex’ job is funded by grants. One pays for him and clinic attorneys to previde representation for children in very difficult divorce and parentage cases in family and probate court. Another grant funds representation for victime of domestic violence. IN Washington County, he links to VVLP to partner with private attorneys as part of the student’s training on the job. It is good exposure both for the attorney and for the student.
Alex noted that Legal Aid, because of funding from the legal services corporation with its restrictions a/c congressional restriction, can’t represent certain cases.
As a family attorney, Alex sees need in Family Court. Because of his funding restrictions, once the RFA is granted, he and the clinic can’t proceed further into the divorce/parentage issues. He also sees a real need in probate courts for pro bono representation for termination of guardianship cases.
Could they use pro bono attorneys at the Legal Clinic? Alex estimates that they get 6-12 calls per week from low income folks needing representation. They can’t handle all of those, but they also know of the working poor who don’t necessarily meet the poverty guidelines (the clinic uses the VLA income guidelines). He is sure there is an unmet need for those folks, too.
How do we get younger attorneys to do pro bono? He told story of a young graduate who designed his own employment contract that included letting him do a certain number of hour of pro bono work in his new job. Rather than being put off, prospective employers were impressed by the young attorney’s commitment to pro bon work.
Do ethics classes at the law school cover Rule 6.1 –probably, but unsure to what extent. Need to explore further.
NOTE: The environmental clinic does not represent clients per se. I should visit with David Meers at 831-1627.
NOTE: I need to call Jim May, head of the clinic with these questions.