Here's How to Pay it Forward Pro Bono In-House Style
Nothing should stop you! We have overcome the barriers to in-house counsel performing pro bono legal work.
There are lots of opportunities for lawyers to get involved in our community through ACC Colorado. Here is a list of ACC Colorado Sponsored opportunities coming up:
i. Now: Non-Profit Working Group. Assist a Colorado non-profit organization with a specific legal project. Partner with an expert at a law firm if you need expertise. Monthly email to all members of working group describe available projects which are assigned on a first-to-volunteer basis. More information: http://www.coloradolawyerscommittee.org/projects/current-volunteer-opportunities/#business
ii. Now: ProBoPat – Colorado’s Cutting Edge Pro Bono Program for Patent Prosecutors
Last April Denver became first production office for ProBoPat, a national pro bono patent initiative from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s inventor education program. Modeled after a Minneapolis pilot program, ProBoPat is designed to connect low-income inventors and entrepreneurs with patent agents and attorneys willing to provide patent prosecution services on a pro bono or significantly reduced-fee basis. Since its launch, ProBoPat has made 15 successful referrals, with 10 representations currently pending.
ProBoPat is led locally by the Colorado Bar Association Intellectual Property Section and the Mi Casa Resource Center, a local non-profit that, among other things, serves low income entrepreneurs and small business owners. An administrator from Mi Casa evaluates inventors for program eligibility and pairs qualified participants with a volunteer patent professional.
Volunteers are needed! The program currently has a backlog of applicants seeking a match, so qualified ACC members are strongly encouraged to volunteer for this unique and innovative pro bono program. Signing up to volunteer does not obligate you to take any particular case, and in house volunteers can be paired with outside counsel upon request. CLE credit is available to ProBoPat participants, and because ProBoPat is an ACC Colorado-approved pro bono program ACC malpractice insurance is available to individuals who hold themselves out as performing ProBoPat work as a member of ACC Colorado and submit a signedACC Colorado Pro Bono Engagement Letter to ACC Colorado’s Chapter Administrator (firstname.lastname@example.org)(see http://www.acc.com/chapters/colo/probonooutreach.cfm for more information).You can find out more about ProBoPat by calling 303-573-1302 or emailing ProBoPat@MiCasaResourceCenter.org.
To get more information or get involved, please e-mail Josie: ACC-CO@jmsamp.com
PLEASE Help Flood Victims with basic legal questions – We have made it easy for you to volunteer!
ACC Colorado requests that you volunteer to help flood victims with legal issues such as completing FEMA forms, working through the FEMA process, landlord/tenant, insurance, and other legal issues that typically occur in the aftermath of natural disasters. ACC Colorado has teamed up with the Colorado Bar Association, and other organizations to support the Colorado Flood Legal Relief program. For more information about the Colorado Flood Legal Relief program, visit the website: http://colofloodlegalrelief.org/. ACC Colorado malpractice insurance will cover any ACC Colorado member who volunteers for this project as long as the member holds him or herself out to the client as a member of ACC Colorado when s/he is providing the services.
·Training. Written training materials and information about webcast training is available here: https://www.cobar.org/index.cfm/ID/22713/DPCOM/Colorado-Flood-Relief/%20(
·Limited representation rule (Rule 6.5 of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct) allows you to perform short-term legal services without conflict checking (http://www.cobar.org/index.cfm/ID/20511/subID/22559/CETH/)
oThe Colorado Flood Legal Relief website includes this language on the page where individuals submit requests for legal help:
"These services are offered as a public service, free of charge, and for the purpose of providing brief legal advice pursuant to Rule 6.5 of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers. These services are provided in response to the damages caused by the recent severe weather and the need for quick advice. They are provided without expectation that the lawyer will provide continuing representation in the matter. In instances where advice is given pursuant to Rule 6.5 the attorney may not be able to fully check for conflicts of interest, and may not be obligated to disclose a conflict of interest unless he or she has knowledge of it at the time. If representation or legal services are provided beyond what is anticipated herein, the attorney and client should enter into a separate, complete agreement. By making a request through this website, you agree that you have been properly informed of the associated risks and alternatives to the short-term, limited legal services to be provided to you, and you are aware that strict compliance with all conflict of interest rules is not required of the lawyer."
·Refer back to the program any issues for further handling, including issues beyond your expertise or beyond your ability to assist;
·Malpractice insurance provided by ACC Colorado as long as:
1.You volunteer through the Colorado Flood Legal Relief program;
2.You send an email to Josie Hall, ACC CO's Chapter administrator (email@example.com), letting us know you have volunteered;
3.You are a member of ACC Colorado; and
4.You hold yourself out as a member of ACC Colorado when you provide the services.
To volunteer, sign up on the volunteer page of the Colorado Flood Legal Relief website (http://colofloodlegalrelief.org/volunteer/), and the Colorado Flood Legal Relief Task Force will connect you with an individual needing legal help. Most assistance is being provided over the telephone or via email, so geography should not be a barrier.
Thank you for your participation and your willingness to help your neighbor with your valuable legal skills!
Carolyn Powell, Chair Pro Bono Committee MVG Development Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
ACC Colorado Collaboration with CU Law School's Entrepreneurial Law Clinic
The Pro Bono Committee is pleased to announce our launch event for our collaboration with CU Law School’s Entrepreneurial Law Clinic on the afternoon of Friday, April 19 at the CU Law School.
This event will be for three hours on the afternoon of the 19th and will be structured so that in-house volunteer attorneys will receive some basic instruction in the areas of legal support being requested by the micro-entrepreneurs they will be assisting and will have access during the session to law firm attorneys specialized in the areas to be covered.
Following the instructional session attorneys will then meet with a micro-entrepreneur, who has been selected through a pre-screening process, to walk through a checklist of legally relevant topics to identify areas of concern to the micro-entrepreneur and to allow the attorney to provide appropriate legal advice. Depending on law student interest each attorney may be paired with a CU law student for the session to allow the student to benefit from both the instruction and from observation of the attorney client interaction.
At the conclusion of the session, if the attorney wishes to continue to provide services for the micro-entrepreneur and is requested to do so, a letter of engagement must be completed and a scope of continuing pro bono services agreed upon.There is no obligation on the part of the participating attorneys to continue to provide services after this session and the micro-entrepreneurs understand that the attorney’s commitment is only for this session.
ACC Colorado has professional liability insurance in place that will provide coverage for the attorneys who participate in this event and for any agreed to pro bono services provided subsequent to this event under an appropriate letter of engagement.This is an excellent opportunity to step up and earn some of your pro bono hours while assisting a small business start-up and having the opportunity to interact with and mentor CU law students.
ACC Colorado's Pro Bono & Outreach Evaluation Criteria
The ACC Colorado Chapter board reviews all requests for pro bono & community outreach legal assistance based on established criteria. To aid potential organizations and individuals seeking the assistance of ACC Colorado and our members, the following is a summary of the criteria upon which we review such requests. Please keep in mind that we review requests as they are received, subject to our meeting schedule. For additional information or to discuss potential opportunities, please contact Josie: ACC-CO@jmsamp.com
- The sponsored activity or project must be related to our core purpose as an association of in-house legal counsel.
- The request must relate to a specific activity or project as opposed to contributing to a general fund of an organization.
- The request should help us achieve as broad an array of involvement as possible across our sponsorships activities. The extent to which the chapter has already sponsored similar activities or organizations will be considered.
- The sponsored organization must have a track record of success.
- The request must not involve an issue or taking a position that deeply divides our membership.
We look forward to hearing from you and to working together to better the community in which we practice.