The Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project (MVLP) is a 501(c) (3) non-profit legal aid organization. Formed in 1982, MVLP is the nation’s first formal association of a state bar association, the Mississippi Bar Association, and the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). MVLP’s long-standing relationship with the Mississippi Bar and the LSC has resulted in a professional and productive partnership, with attorneys unselfishly offering their time and talents to serve Mississippi’s poor and less fortunate.
Even before completing its first year of operation, MVLP was cited by the American Bar Association and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association as the country’s single most outstanding program among state Bar associations.
Since 1982, MVLP has helped thousands of clients with a wide array of legal matters. More recently, the organization has narrowed its services to assisting clients with domestic matters, exclusively. MVLP is grateful to its volunteer for the sacrifices they make to change the lives of those in need. Without the contributions and support of volunteers and partners, MVLP could not have reached out to so many Mississippians in the broader effort to ensure equal access to justice for all.
How MVLP Works
Potential MVLP clients are screened by MVLP’s staff to determine whether they qualify for MVLP’s services. If a potential client qualifies for MVLP’s services, the client is matched with a volunteer attorney who will represent him/her on behalf of MVLP. MVLP clients have cases in the following areas: uncontested divorce, removal of minority/emancipation, wills, adoption, guardianship, name change, birth certificate correction, and conservatorship.
Even after a client is matched with a volunteer attorney, MVLP’s staff periodically reviews the client’s case to ensure that the match is successful, to assess the progress of the case, and to record pro bono hours contributed by the volunteer attorney.
MVLP has a library of resources available to assist volunteers with research, sample pleadings and other case documents. To further support volunteers in assisting with cases outside of their general practice area, and with the assistance of the Mississippi Bar’s Delivery of Legal Services Committee, MVLP developed a Pro Bono Attorney Manual in 2007. The Pro Bono Manual is a comprehensive desk resource for attorneys who handle MVLP cases. The chapters of the Pro Bono Manual were prepared and are periodically updated by attorneys at firms in the Jackson Metro area.
MVLP carries professional liability insurance on all volunteers attorneys who provide services to MVLP’s clients. Pro bono takes many forms. Apart from casework, pro bono service for MVLP’s volunteers may also involve assisting a client at a legal clinic, rendering legal counseling and advice to existing and potential clients, answering a call or preparing letters on a client’s behalf, serving as a mentor to a new MVLP volunteer or serving as faculty at a continuing legal education seminar. Attorneys interested in volunteering with MVLP should contact MVLP.
2014 Pro Bono Survey
Find MVLP’s 2014 Pro Bono Survey Report here: 2014 Pro Bono Survey Report. Thank you to the attorneys who participated in the annual survey. MVLP will use the survey results to help formulate pro bono opportunities that will be more responsive to the needs of Mississippi Bar members.