MARQUETTE VOLUNTEER LEGAL CLINIC. Volunteer Attorney Training Professional Responsibilities of Limited Scope Representation

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1 MARQUETTE VOLUNTEER LEGAL CLINIC Volunteer Attorney Training Professional Responsibilities of Limited Scope Representation

2 SCOPE OF TRAINING Provide overview of MVLC model including limits of services, policies, and procedures. Provide information about the professional responsibilities of limited scope representation in the context of a brief legal advice clinic. In person training qualifies as 1 Ethics CLE credit. Online training does not.

3 MVLC MISSION To serve the Milwaukee community in Marquette s Jesuit tradition of service by increasing access to justice while providing learning and mentoring opportunities for law students.

4 MVLC QUICK FACTS Over 20,000 clients served since we began in Over 230 volunteer attorneys involved each year. Over 200 law student volunteers involved each year. 40% of clients have a monthly household income between $0 and $1,000; 20% have between $1,000 and $1,500. Common Legal Issues: family law, housing, small claims, employment, wills, probate, contracts.

5 VOLUNTEER SUPPORT Marquette University provides professional liability insurance for trained clinic attorneys. Free monthly CLE presentations cover areas most frequently seen at the clinic. You may attend inperson at the law school or view live online. (1 credit) Archived presentations also available online. Visit our website:

6 SCR 20:6.1 Voluntary pro bono service Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay. A lawyer should aspire to render at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services per year.

7 WISCONSIN PRO BONO SOCIETY FOR LAWYERS An honorary society for Wisconsin Lawyers who provide 50+ pro bono hours each year. Self-report your eligibility on the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission website: The MVLC keeps record of your pro bono hours with us.

8 The opposite of poverty is not wealth. The opposite of poverty is justice. - Bryan Stevenson, Founder & Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative

9 DO YOU NEED MONEY TO ACCESS JUSTICE? Filing Fees $198 for divorce with children Filing and service fees may be waived with an Affidavit of $188 for divorce without Indigency children and proof of poverty at $98 for small claims or below 200% FPL. Service Fees $60 for three service attempts by Milwaukee Co. Sheriff s Office No attorneys fees for representation from Legal Action of Wisconsin or the Often hourly. Sometimes with a retainer. Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee. Proof of poverty at or below 125% FPL. Attorneys Fees

10 MILWAUKEE POVERTY Milwaukee is one of America's 10 most impoverished big cities, With 29.4% of residents living at or below the Federal Poverty Rate (FPL) in 2011.

11 What is the federal poverty rate and how is it determined? 29.4% of Milwaukee Residents living at or below 100% Free Legal Services qualifier Food Stamps & Court Fees Waiver qualifier

12 WISCONSIN S LEGAL SERVICES LANDSCAPE Wisconsin is one of only three states in the country that provides no funding for civil legal services for low-income individuals.

13 WISCONSIN S LEGAL SERVICES LANDSCAPE Other Midwestern states budget an average of $7.6 million per budget cycle for civil legal services to the indigent. How are Wisconsin s Legal Services programs funded? Federal dollars via the Legal Services Corporation Attorney trust account interest income Part of bar dues How can we work toward creative solutions? Develop a continuum of services.

14 MILWAUKEE S LEGAL SERVICES CONTINUUM Websites with Legal Information Legal Help Desks Brief Legal Advice Clinics Brief Representation Ongoing Representation

15 MVLC LOCATIONS & HOURS Milwaukee Justice Center 901 N. 9 th St. Room G9 Thursdays & Fridays 2-4pm Family Law Advice: Mon., Tues., Wed. 1:30-3:30 House of Peace 1702 W. Walnut St. Tuesdays, 3-7 Milwaukee County VA 6419 W. Greenfield Ave 1st & 3rd Mondays, 4-6 United Community Center 730 W. Washington St. Wednesdays, 5 7

16 MOBILE LEGAL CLINIC Operating Saturdays at isolated urban areas in Milwaukee.

17 CLINIC FOR NONPROFITS Marquette Legal Initiative for Nonprofit Corporations (M-LINC) Mission To help provide Wisconsin 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations with access to free legal advice, while providing learning and mentoring opportunities for law students. Model Clinics at Marquette Law School in the Eisenberg Suite Overseen by Assistant Director Katie Mayer Generally transactional legal issues Corporate, tax, employment, intellectual property, real estate, and employment law questions

18 CLINIC MODEL Law students are paired with volunteer attorneys Law students greet clients, escort them to conference room, and introduce you to the client (first names only) Law student explains the parameters of the service Law students and volunteer attorneys conduct a client interview together Volunteer attorneys provide brief legal advice Civil legal issues only Client meetings typically last minutes

19 ROLE OF THE ATTORNEY You have full discretion to guide the interview as you see fit. Attorneys usually listen, ask questions to develop a complete understanding of the legal issues, and do their best to provide the client with the basic steps needed to begin to address the problem. Students are encouraged to participate by asking questions of their own to help develop the facts. Invite the student to ask questions of you during (and after) the interview. Network with the law student about your practice, working as an attorney in Milwaukee, etc.

20 ROLE OF THE ATTORNEY, Cont d. Some clients will not have a legal problem, but might need help reading a letter, completing a form, or finding a resource. Be prepare to pitch in on these kinds of issues. Consult with clinic supervisor and other attorneys at the clinic when you encounter an issue about which you are unfamiliar. Our goal is to provide someone with as much as we can in just one visit. When time permits, we strive to help someone complete a court form rather than refer them to another location for assistance with the form. But on occasion, a client will be better served at one MVLC location over another. Take care when providing a referral! We want to avoid giving clients the run-around.

21 ROLE OF THE ATTORNEY, Cont d. Sometimes the best advice we give is telling someone they do not have a legal claim, are very unlikely to prevail, and should consider moving on in their life. Often the client just wants to be heard and have their feelings validated ( That sounds like it was really tough. I can understand why you are frustrated. You have described some really difficult circumstances. ) Validate first, then deliver the legal advice.

22 EXPECTATIONS There is never any requirement or guarantee that we will be able to solve a client s problem. Some legal matters are beyond the scope of our services. These include criminal matters, commercial transactions, school law, ERISA issues, complex litigation, or employment discrimination. Do your best to refer a client to another resource, including the MBA and WisBar LRIS. Please consult with a clinic supervisor to find other appropriate referrals and resources. A great way to help clients to the fullest extent possible is to bring your notary stamp to each clinic shift.

23 MVLC ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS Special Rules for Limited Scope Limited Scope Representation SCR 20:1.2(c) Informed Consent 20:1.0(f) Competency considerations: Comment 7 SCR 20:1.2 Conflict Free Representation SCR 20:6.5 Ghostwriting considerations SCR 20:1.2 (cm) General ethics rules apply - Competence SCR Confidentiality SCR Communication with person represented by counsel SCR 4.2

24 LIMITED SCOPE REPRESENTATION SCR 20:1.2 (C) A lawyer may limit the scope of the representation if the limitation is: Reasonable under the circumstances and The client gives informed consent.

25 REASONABLE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES University s liability insurance provider does not cover certain areas of law that include, but are not limited to, commercial transactions, complex litigation, school law, criminal law, and employment discrimination. Use your discretion at the clinics to determine whether the answer to a legal question goes beyond brief legal advice.

26 REASONABLE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES Cont d. If competency is compromised by limiting the representation, it is ill-suited for brief advice. Comment 7 to SCR 20:1.2 Although an agreement for limited representation does not exempt a lawyer from the duty to provide competent representation, the limitation is a factor to be considered when determining the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation. See Competence Rule 1.1

27 LIMITED SCOPE REPRESENTATION SCR 20:1.2 (C) A lawyer may limit the scope of the representation if the limitation is: Reasonable under the circumstances and The client gives informed consent.

28 CLIENT MUST GIVE INFORMED CONSENT TO LSR, Cont d. SCR 20:1.0(f) defines informed consent with three essential elements, all of which are included in our Explanation of Clinic Services, provided to every client at the outset of services. 1. Explanation of facts and circumstances Our purpose is to provide you with basic legal advice and appropriate referrals if needed. The clinic cannot accept your case or represent you in any legal action.

29 CLIENT MUST GIVE INFORMED CONSENT TO LSR, Cont d. SCR 20:1.0(f) defines informed consent with three essential elements, all of which are included in our Explanation of Clinic Services. 1. Explanation of facts and circumstances 2. Explanation of the material advantages and disadvantages of a proposed course of conduct It is usually a good idea to have an attorney represent you, and it may be difficult to proceed without one. We will provide as much assistance as we can today, but you may be more successful if you have an attorney.

30 CLIENT MUST GIVE INFORMED CONSENT TO LSR, Cont d. SCR 20:1.0(f) defines informed consent with three essential elements, all of which are included in our Explanation of Clinic Services. 1. Explanation of facts and circumstances 2. Explanation of the materials advantages and disadvantages of a proposed course of conduct 3. An explanation of available options and alternatives If we are aware of any reasonable available alternatives to our service, we will refer you to them. We recommend that you contact any legal resources to which we refer you.

31 CLIENT MUST GIVE INFORMED CONSENT TO LSR Informed consent need not be given in writing if the representation is provided by a lawyer participating in a program sponsored by an accredited law school, or a court and lawyer s representation consists solely of providing information and advice or the preparation of court-approved legal forms. SCR 20:1.2(c)(1) No written consent required for clinics such as MVLC, but our practice is to obtain written consent through signature on client intake form (a responsibility of the law student).

32 CONFLICT FREE REPRESENTATION Special rule for lawyers who want to participate in adviceonly legal clinics with protection from unintentional conflicts of interest. SCR 20:6.5. Nonprofit and court-annexed limited legal services program. (a) A lawyer who, under the auspices of a program sponsored by an accredited law school provides short-term limited legal services to a client without expectation by either the lawyer or the client that the lawyer will provide continuing representation in the matter: (1) is subject to Rules 1.7 (conflict with current clients) and 1.9(a) (duties to former clients) only if the lawyer knows that the representation of the client involves a conflict of interest; and (2) is subject to Rule 1.10 (imputed disqualifications) only if the lawyer knows that another lawyer associated with the lawyer in a law firm is disqualified by Rule 1.7 or 1.9(a) with respect to the matter. (b) Except as provided in paragraph (a) (2), Rule 1.10 is inapplicable to a representation governed by this Rule.

33 CONFLICT FREE REPRESENTATION, Cont d. Bottom Line: KNOWN conflicts pertaining to the attorney, the attorney s firm, or the law student, would preclude that individual from providing advice to the client. In this occurs, advise the clinic supervisor and another attorney and/or student will be assigned to the client. Do not inform the client why you are withdrawing.

34 GHOSTWRITING 20:1.2 (cm) Ghostwriting is the practice of a lawyer drafting pleadings, briefs, or other documents to be filed with the court by a pro se litigant without disclosing who drafted the document. SCR 20:1.2 (cm) A lawyer may prepare pleadings, briefs, and other documents to be filed with the court so long as such filings clearly indicate thereon that This document was prepared with the assistance of a lawyer. A lawyer shall advise the client to whom the lawyer provides assistance in preparing pleadings, briefs, or other documents for filing with the court that the pleading, brief, or other documents must contain a statement that it was prepared with the assistance of a lawyer.

35 GHOSTWRITING, Cont d. If you draft a document for a client at the MVLC, you will find a stamp on your work station containing the words This document was prepared with the assistance of a lawyer. Please use the stamp when appropriate. You may also type the phrase directly into the document prepared. Disclosure is not required on court forms which have been drafted by the Wisconsin Courts system.

36 General Ethics Rules Apply Competence SCR 20:1.1 Confidentiality SCR 20: 1.6 Communication with Person Represented by Counsel SCR 20: 4.2

37 Competence SCR 20:1.1 A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation. Rule comments include: A newly admitted lawyer can be as competent as a practitioner with long experience. Some important legal skills, such as the analysis of precedent, the evaluation of evidence and legal drafting, are required in all legal problems. Perhaps the most fundamental legal skill consists of determining what kind of legal problems a situation may involve, a skill that necessarily transcends any particular specialized knowledge.

38 Confidentiality SCR 20:1.6 A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless: - The client gives informed consent - The disclosure is impliedly authorized to carry out the representation ( Am I disclosing this to advance the client s stated objective? ) - A court order requires the disclosure Whether information is contained in the public record does not matter.

39 Communications with Person Represented by Counsel SCR 20:4.2 In representing a client, a lawyer shall not communicate about the subject of the representation with a person the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter, unless the lawyer has the consent of the other lawyer or is authorized to do so by law or a court order. Rule comments include: Nor does this Rule preclude communication with a represented person who is seeking advice from a lawyer who is not otherwise representing a client in the matter.

40 COMMON FACTS AND RESOURCES AT MVLC LANDLORD/TENANT Tenant signed a oneyear lease and moved into the apartment one month ago. She has discovered bed bugs this week. She wants to stop paying rent and move out. What are her options? Wisconsin State Law Library Milwaukee Justice Center Checking Records on CCAP MVLC Resource Log In

41 COMMON FACTS AND RESOURCES AT MVLC FAMILY LAW Father s income has gone down since his hours were cut at work. He cannot afford to pay the amount of child support currently ordered. What can he do? Wisconsin State Law Library Milwaukee Justice Center Checking Records on CCAP sl MVLC Resource Log In

42 COMMON FACTS AND RESOURCES AT MVLC SMALL CLAIMS My neighbor backed into my fence causing $600 in damages. He promised to pay for the repairs but has not done so. Wisconsin State Law Library Milwaukee Justice Center Checking Records on CCAP sl MVLC Resource Log In

43 COMMON FACTS AND RESOURCES AT MVLC PROPERTY Client owns nothing but a house. She wants to give the house to her two children in equal shares. She also wants to avoid probate after she dies. What are her options? Wisconsin State Law Library Milwaukee Justice Center MVLC Resource Log In Checking Property Records

44 OTHER PRO BONO OPPORTUNITIES Volunteering with the Marquette Legal Initiative for Nonprofit Corporations Attorneys assist Wisconsin nonprofits on corporate, tax, employment, intellectual property, real estate, and employment law questions. Legal Action of Wisconsin s Volunteer Lawyer Project Attorneys have the opportunity to take pro bono cases in elder, family, probate, or landlord/tenant law. Northern Wisconsin Legal Advice Project At the MVLC House of Peace location, attorneys can log on using the MVLC computers to provide brief legal advice to clients in Northern Wisconsin. Milwaukee Justice Center Family Law Forms Clinic The Forms Clinic or even the training for it is a great way to learn the family law forms so often used at all MVLC locations.

45 NEXT STEPS Record your training attendance and indicate your availability to volunteer online: https://mulaw.wufoo.com/forms/mvlc-attorneyvolunteer-training-completion-form/ This link is also posted on the MVLC website at the same place from which you launched this training video. Questions? Contact us at

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