Volunteer Law Student FAQ

How do I sign up to volunteer?

Please contact the VLP Advocate Student Coordinators to become a VLP Advocate:  

What kind of training will I receive?

The Volunteer Lawyers Program provides training for students who wish to participate in the VLP Advocates projects.  Most opportunities through the VLP Advocates Program require a two to three hour substantive law training.  The training sessions are organized by the VLP and generally involve presentations by members of the bench or private bar.  Written materials are also provided.

Who coordinates this program?      

The VLP Advocates Program is coordinated by Southern Arizona Legal Aid's Volunteer Lawyers Program.  The Program is staffed by Melissa Spiller-Shiner, an attorney and student coordinator.  Melissa is assisted by three law student coordinators from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.

If I sign up, what kind of time commitment am I giving?

The VLP Advocate Program requests a 12-15 hour commitment per semester from the students who want to become involved with the VLP.

Will I have the opportunity to work with actual clients?

Law students work with actual clients through each of the opportunities offered by the VLP Advocate Program.

Will I have the opportunity to appear in court?

Law students who volunteer with the Minor Guardianship Court Project will have the opportunity to appear as a "Friend of the Court" in Pima County Superior Court.  Law students who volunteer with the Bankruptcy Reaffirmation Project will have the opportunity to appear as a “Friend of the Court” in Federal Bankruptcy Court. 

Where do I go for the clinics?

Students who participate in the Domestic RelationsAdvice-Only Projects, and Wills Project meet at the VLP office located at:

Southern Arizona Legal Aid
2343 E. Broadway Blvd., Suite 200
Tucson, AZ85719

The Service Center and Minor Guardianship Court Projects are held at the Pima County Superior Court building, which is located in downtown Tucson at:

Pima County Superior Court
110 W. Congress Street
Tucson, AZ 85701

The Bankruptcy Reaffirmation Project is held at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona at:

Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona
38 S. Scott Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85701

Where should I park?

The Service Center and the Minor Guardianship Court Projects are held at the Pima County Superior Courthouse, which is located at the corner of Congress and Church in downtown Tucson.   The Bankruptcy Reaffirmation Project is also downtown.  The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona is located on the corner of Scott and Broadway.  There are several parking garages and meters near both court buildings. 

The Domestic Relations, Advice-Only, and Wills Projects are held at the VLP office at Southern Arizona Legal Aid, located at 2343 E. Broadway Blvd., Suite 200.  The building is on the north side of Broadway, just west of Tucson Blvd.  Free parking is available. 

What should I wear?

Attire can be casual if the student is volunteering at the Service Center, Domestic Relations, Advice-Only, and Wills Projects.  However, more professional dress is required (men must wear a tie) when appearing at the Minor Guardianship and Bankruptcy Reaffirmation Projects.

Where do I find forms?

Pima County Superior Court Forms:  http://www.sc.pima.gov/?tabid=112
Maricopa County Superior Court Forms:  https://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/SuperiorCourt/Self-ServiceCenter/
Arizona Supreme Court Forms: http://www.azcourts.gov/selfservicecenter/selfserviceforms.aspx

What kind of recognition is given for volunteer law students?

One VLP Advocate is chosen each month to receive the Outstanding Law Student Volunteer Award.  A plaque with their picture in it hangs in the law school.  

In addition to monthly awards, every fall the Volunteer Lawyers Program sponsors an annual recognition luncheon. At the luncheon, volunteer attorneys, law firms, and other organizations are honored for their work with pro bono clients.  An award is also presented to the outstanding law student volunteer at the luncheon.

In the spring, the VLP organizes a law student recognition event held at the James E. Rogers College of Law. This luncheon provides the VLP with an opportunity to specifically thank all of the law students who participate in the program. The Dean of the College of Law traditionally speaks at the event along with a superior court judge.

What’s in it for me?

Legal skills development - Pro bono participation is an opportunity to work with real clients.  This experience enables students to develop a variety of fundamental legal skills that law courses alone cannot teach, such as problem solving, legal research and analysis, counseling, negotiation, litigation, and the recognition and resolution of ethical dilemma.  Having developed such skills, a student can market herself to future employers by demonstrating that she has relevant and practical work experience.

Introduction to practice settings

Networking and mentoring - Pro bono work opens the door to these two important career development tools.  It helps students build relationships with practicing lawyers who can serve as an important contact for future employment.  The supervising a student’s pro bono work can provide helpful feedback.  The lawyer can also provide references, career guidance, and job leads.

Leadership skills development