Volunteer Lawyers Program
Information for Prospective Clients
HOW DO I GET HELP?
If you are low-income and have a non-criminal legal problem in Spokane or Lincoln Counties, call CLEAR (the Coordinated Legal Education and Referral System), toll-free at 1-888-201-1014 . The CLEAR intake line is open Monday – Friday from 9:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Click the following link to go to CLEAR's web site: nwjustice.org/clear-online
CLEAR legal advocates may be able to provide you with legal assistance over the telephone. If not, you may be referred directly to the Volunteer Lawyers Program, other legal services program, or another agency if appropriate. Please note that the CLEAR line is very busy, so keep trying to get through.
If you are age 60 and older, you may call CLEAR Sr. at 1-888-387-7111 . There is no income eligibility for receiving service through CLEAR Sr.
If you are unable to reach CLEAR, you may contact the Volunteer Lawyers Program directly by calling our intake line at (509) 324-0144 . The intake line is open on Monday afternoons from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. and Thursday afternoons from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. VLP staff will determine eligibility for services based on income and the type of legal problem. Legal residency in the United States is not required to receive services.
To apply to CLEAR Online, click on the following link
User-friendly legal help is also available through the internet at www.washingtonlawhelp.org
Court forms may be downloaded at
If you do not qualify for free legal services, there is still help available
to people of modest means.
WHAT LEGAL ISSUES CAN I GET HELP WITH?
Family law (divorce, custody, child support, parenting plans, guardianship, adoption, paternity, etc.)
Landlord-tenant issues including evictions
Chapter 7 bankruptcy and consumer matters (predatory lending, unfair sales practices, etc.)
Public benefits (food stamps, Medicaid, SSI)
Housing and home ownership
Wills and estate planning
Social Security termination and overpayments
Contracts and Warranties
Child in Need of Services (C.H.I.N.S.) petitions
WHAT SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE THROUGH THE VOLUNTEER LAWYERS PROGRAM (VLP)
Family Law Advice Clinic (FLAC)
Each Monday there are approximately 10 afternoon appointments at the FLAC for individuals with family law issues. The clinic is held on the fourth floor of the main courthouse. Clients meet with family law attorneys to review paperwork and to obtain advice and counsel. The clinic is available by appointment only and the cost is $10.00 for the first visit and $5.00 for each visit thereafter.
Divorce Advice Clinic (DAC)
The DAC is held on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 5:15 p.m. at the VLP offices in the Jack Dean Law Center , 1704 W. Broadway. Clients are strongly encouraged to complete as much of their dissolution (divorce) paperwork as possible before meeting with an attorney at the clinic. The DAC is available by appointment only and the cost is $10.00 for the first visit and $5.00 for each visit thereafter.
Status Conference Advice Clinic (SCAC)
Pro se clients (those appearing without representation) at their mandatory Status Conference Hearing on family law cases may obtain assistance from a VLP attorney to gain continuances, set cases for trial, or complete final paperwork. The SCAC takes place each Thursday morning in the two family law courtrooms at Superior Court. This service is free.
Bankruptcy Information Clinic (BIC)
Clients interested in filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may attend the Bankruptcy Information Clinic (BIC) held at 5: 30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the VLP office. A packet of information is sent ahead of time to enable clients to complete as much bankruptcy paperwork as possible before the clinic. The clinic is available by appointment only and the cost is $10.00 for the first visit and $5.00 for each visit thereafter. If the client appears to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and meets program eligibility criteria, the VLP finds an attorney to assist the client with a Chapter 7 filing.
Housing Justice Project (HJP)
Individuals who have received an eviction summons may receive emergency advice at the Unlawful Detainer docket through the Housing Justice Project (HJP). VLP attorneys are available to help negotiate with the opposing attorney or request a continuance to gather more evidence. At the discretion of the attorney, he/she may also represent the client at a hearing or trial. There is no charge for services through the HJP.
The VLP refers clients to pro bono attorneys who may provide representation for a specific component of a legal matter, or full representation for the duration of the case. Each year cases are referred in many areas of law including family, landlord/tenant, public benefits and consumer law, license suspension, bankruptcy filing and wills.
While the VLP makes every effort to obtain representation for eligible clients whose legal matter warrants it, the number of people who request this service exceeds the number of available attorneys.
The C.H.I.N.S. program was created to assist children in obtaining Child in Need of Services petitions. This allows a child to live with an appropriate family while finishing school or until the child’s parents get the services they need, enabling the child to return to a functional home. This program is a collaborative effort of the VLP and TeamChild.