When the economy was better, we had a career alternatives for lawyers series, for those in Biglaw looking to do something new. Given the layoffs and sluggish law firm hiring these days, we’re starting a new series: “Can’t find work?” We’ll offer “options” for those shut out — or forced out — of Biglaw.
On Tuesday, we suggested an “option” for recent law grads unable to find work: start your own firm. Two University of Missouri grads were unable to find work and hung out their own shingle in Kansas City. ATL readers lent their support to the venture by spell-checking the hell out of the Buckley & Hutchings website.
Today, we have a new “option” for those looking for work. Offer up your legal services for free!
A local legal aid provider is seeking unemployed lawyers as volunteers to staff its telephone hotline for low-income families in need of legal advice…
The volunteers must be licensed Illinois lawyers and are asked to work on the CARPLS hotline for at least four hours each week on a morning or afternoon shift. Schwartz said CARPLS officials hope that between 40 and 50 out-of-work lawyers will volunteer for the new program. The new volunteers will supplement the work of 32 paid staff lawyers, Schwartz said.
CARPLS officials posted a job description for the new program on craigslist and other online sites Thursday afternoon, Schwartz said. By Friday morning, there were about 35 responses, he added. The first response was from a lawyer who was offended because she was being asked to work for free, according to Schwartz. The rest of the responses came from lawyers interested in participating in the program, he added.
You may not get paid in cash, but you will get basic training in family, landlord-tenant and consumer law. Press release from CARPLS, after the jump.
So, if you’re twiddling your thumbs these days, think about calling up your local legal aid office and putting some of their attorneys out of work by volunteering your time.
PRESS RELEASE FROM COORDINATED ADVICE AND REFERRAL PROGRAM FOR LEGAL SERVICES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CALLING ILLINOIS ATTORNEYS LOOKING FOR WORK
CARPLS Legal Aid Wants You
CHICAGO, January 26, 2009 – CARPLS Legal Aid is looking to put unemployed attorneys to work counseling the growing number of low-income families who are urgently in need of help during these difficult economic times. The new project, named CARPLS Works, asks licensed Illinois attorneys to volunteer on the CARPLS hotline for four hours each week on a morning or afternoon shift.
Volunteers will receive training in the limited practice areas of family, consumer debt and landlord-tenant law before taking to the phones. The volunteers will be supported by CARPLS staff and all work performed for CARPLS will be covered by CARPLS malpractice insurance.
The CARPLS Works project gives unemployed attorneys the chance to make productive use of their legal skills while providing an invaluable service to the community. The project also provides out-of-work attorneys the chance to network with their peers and the opportunity to provide their resumes to CARPLS Board of Directors and Associate Board members, many of whom work at Chicago’s top law firms and corporate law departments.
Attorneys interested in CARPLS Works should email their resume to email@example.com, mail it to CARPLS Works, 17 N. State Street, Suite 1850, Chicago, IL 60602, or call 312-421-4011 by February 13, 2009.
ABOUT CARPLS: CARPLS is an innovative legal aid service that offers an immediate response to the every day legal problems confronting low-income families in Cook County. CARPLS’ legal aid hotline and court-based advice desks give low-income clients direct access to experienced attorneys who are trained to quickly assess and respond to a wide range of civil legal problems. CARPLS attorneys resolve over 85% of all cases in-house by providing information, advice and brief services including the preparation and review of legal documents. Clients with more complex needs are referred by CARPLS to a network of specialized legal and social service providers. CARPLS’ unique “legal triage” system serves as a model for legal aid communities across the country and has increased access to justice by dramatically reducing the cost of providing legal aid services to the poor.
Earlier: Can’t find work? Start your own firm
Out-of-work lawyers sought to perform volunteer services [Chicago Law Bulletin]