The Volunteer Lawyers Project is designed to connect recent law graduates and experienced mentors at established law firms in a joint effort to represent indigent Mercer County residents in civil matters threatening a household’s stability.
The law graduate would be a volunteer intern working for the Mercer County Volunteer Lawyers Project and specifically assigned to a participating firm for mentoring while working on a VLP case. Prospective clients would be subject to the income and asset eligibility standards of Central Jersey Legal Services, Inc. After eligibility and substantive screening is completed, the client would be referred to either to a law graduate directly or, if the firm choose to participate in the VLP independent of the mentoring program, to the delegated contact at the firm. The law graduate would be supervised by the designated mentor at the participant firm or by a CJLS attorney.
Mentor Project graduates would be noticed on all training offered by Legal Services of New Jersey and all materials from past trainings will be available on the LSNJ site. Participating law graduates would be covered by CJLS malpractice insurance for work on assigned VLP cases. Before cases are assigned to a participating firm, the firm would be provided with the names of all parties so that a proper conflict check can be conducted. Firms are encourages to adopt a substantive specialty to ease case referrals and to perfect substantive expertise. Attorneys can participate as mentors to field questions regarding current procedures and provide practical advice.