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Pro Bono Volunteer Opportunities

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Celebrate Pro Bono 2016

The American Bar Association (ABA) designated October 23-29, 2016 as Celebrate Pro Bono Week. According to the ABA, the collective civil legal aid effort is meeting only about 20% of the legal needs of low-income people in the United States. Watch or listen to this important message from 2016-17 BAMSL President Eric Kukowski then look below to learn how St. Louis lawyers and their firms can help by joining the St. Louis Pro Bono Challenge.

WHAT: The LSEM Volunteer Lawyers Program is assisting Better Family Life in staffing its Amnesty Event and Legal Expo

WHEN: August 12 and August 16

WHERE: St. Louis Community College, Forest Park campus


If you can provide two hours of your time between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm on either Saturday August 12 or Wednesday August 16, please email me at and let me know your time slot!

I will follow up to provide you with logistical details.


The Legal Information Expo anticipates hundreds of walk-ins with general legal questions. Better Family Life is providing breakfast and lunch to all volunteer attorneys.

We are in substantial need of general practitioners, as we anticipate questions related to tenants’ rights, family law, estate planning, small business, and minor criminal matters. However we hope to have enough attorneys so that each of you can concentrate in preferred topics. Participants will sign acknowledgements that no attorney-client relationship is established and that they are seeking only general legal information.

Over 65 municipalities and St. Louis County will be participating in the event in conjunction with the Legal Information Expo.  


Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions!


Patti Hageman


Hon. Richard B. Teitelman Memorial St. Louis Pro Bono Challenge 2017

2017 St. Louis Pro Bono Challenge logoIn partnership with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, BAMSL implemented this exciting program to encourage and support pro bono, and to publicly recognize those lawyers and law firms who step up to the Challenge. The Challenge formally launched at a lunch event on January 19, 2017, at the Saint Louis Club, during which participating firms signed a ceremonial pledge that is on display at the BAMSL Bar Center. Firms may sign on at any time during the year. To join the Challenge, your firm simply needs to sign the pledge and submit it to BAMSL. Details are available in the announcement letter below. Participating firms pledge to actively encourage pro bono and strive to perform a total of 10 hours of pro bono on average per year per attorney located in St. Louis. So a firm of 50 local attorneys would commit to an annual total of 500 hours. For some firms, this will seem like a low goal that the firm already exceeds. For others, we hope this will be a welcome way to newly promote or enhance pro bono at your firm.

Announcement Letter   Pledge   Volunteer of the Month Nomination

Thank you to these firms who have joined the 2017 Hon. Richard B. Teitelman Memorial St. Louis Pro Bono Challenge:

Bryan Cave LLP   Husch Blackwell LLP
Capes Sokol   Jacob Law Firm, LLC 
David B. Lacks, P.C. Law Offices   Lathrop & Gage LLP
Dennis Buchheit, Attorney   Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
Dentons US LLP   Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C.
Dowd Bennett LLP   Polsinelli PC
Fox Galvin, LLC   The Simon Law Firm, P.C.
Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C.   Stinson Leonard Street LLP
Herzog Crebs LLP   Thompson Coburn LLP


The Pro Bono Challenge law firms provided a collective 16,995.4 hours of pro bono work to the St. Louis community during the first half of 2017 (January 1 — June 30, 2017). Thank you for your generosity and for making a difference in our community!

The Challenge standings are calculated on a per-attorney basis, to level the playing field for firms of all sizes. All firms have ample time to meet the 2017 Challenge goal of 10 pro bono hours on average per St. Louis area full-time attorney, and many already have surpassed that goal. The American Bar Association model rules suggest 50 pro bono hours per attorney per year. Based on the reports from the first two quarters, we predict that the Challenge winner will meet or surpass that ABA standard!

Thank you to each of these firms for your willingness to report your pro bono hours; by publicly reporting pro bono, we can show the community as a whole just how much our lawyers are giving in free legal services to those who cannot afford them. Although all firms also contribute in so many other charitable ways, pro bono work is a unique contribution of our professional legal expertise that only we as lawyers can make.

The next reports will be due October 10, and please remember that we are on a tight publication deadline!

Kudos to Dentons US LLP for the commanding lead, and thank you to each of you!

Firm Total Hours Avg. Hours/Full-Time Attorney
Dentons US LLP 1,406.1 37.0
Husch Blackwell LLP 4,060.9 24.7
Bryan Cave LLP 4,231.0 23.4
Polsinelli PC 2,537.3 23.1
Stinson Leonard Street LLP 882.5 19.6
The Jacob Law Firm, LLC 17.5 17.5
Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C. 179.3 14.9
Lathrop Gage LLP 450.2 13.2
Capes Sokol 311.6 11.1
Dowd Bennett LLP 294.0 10.9
Thompson Coburn LLP 2,138.9 10.7
The Simon Law Firm, P.C. 89.2 7.4
Ogletree Deakins 145.2 6.3
Herzog Crebs LLP 101.7 4.6
Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. 126.0 4.5
Fox Galvin LLC 24.0 1.8


BAMSL-Fox 2 Call-A-Lawyer

Fox2 Now logo

The BAMSL-Fox 2 Call-A-Lawyer program is an important community service program organized by BAMSL's Young Lawyers Division in partnership with Fox 2. The service assists those who may have a legal issue, but aren't sure what to do next. Volunteers are needed to help anonymously man the phones on the third Tuesday of each month from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Please contact either Kayt Kopen or Lindsay McClure-Hartman to volunteer.


Free Legal Answers - Missouri | Illinois

ABA Free Legal Answers program logo

Free Legal Answers volunteers are able to log on to provide pro bono service at any time of the day, from anywhere they can access the Internet and as frequently as they wish. Volunteer lawyers choose which questions to answer and can answer anonymously, unless the lawyer chooses otherwise. Professional liability insurance for website answers is maintained by the ABA. Track pro bono service hours through the website. To volunteer, visit the appropriate state website and click the "Volunteer Attorney Registration" link at the top of the page.


Gateway Legal Services

Gateway Legal Services logo

Gateway is a nonprofit legal aid law firm dedicated to helping the poor and disabled, focusing primarily on consumer and social security issues.

  • Opportunities: client intake interviews and obtaining case files and medical records
  • Requirements/Qualifications: approximately 3-4 hours per week; reliability


Immigrant Power of Attorney Workshops

These workshops, coordinated by Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry, M.I.C.A. Project, and Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates, are targeted to members of the immigrant community, and are spaces where people will be able to work with a volunteer attorney to complete a Power of Attorney form to designate someone to take care of their property or care for their children if, for some reason, they are unable to do so. Volunteer attorneys are needed to assist in advice and preparation of powers of attorney. An orientation will be provided and Spanish interpreters will be available. No prior experience or area of practice is required. Learn more and sign up here.


Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation

Provides legal and supportive services to improve the lives of its clients to assist them in obtaining social and economic justice. Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation logo

  • Opportunities: serve as a legal intern in the senior citizens, home ownership, or domestic violence projects; interns typically interview clients, investigate cases, draft pleadings, and in some cases represent clients in administrative or court hearings
  • Qualifications/Requirements: prefer 2Ls and 3Ls, prefer students who can make a two semester commitment; interview, training provided by directing attorney; can take 2-4 weeks before an internship can start; requires 10 hours per week (Monday through Friday)


Legal Advocates for Abused Women (LAAW)

Dedicated to helping victims of abuse in times of crisis. LAAW works with legal system, law enforcement and the criminal and civil courts systems. Legal Advocates for Abused Women logo

  • Opportunities: volunteer lawyers needed for casework and fund-raising opportunities; law students not yet Rule 13 approved may work on the volunteer help line, if Rule 13 approved they may assist volunteer lawyers with casework.
  • Qualifications/Requirements: volunteer lawyers contact Katie Wessling, the agency attorney, at 314-452-6492 if interested in volunteering and are required to attend a two-hour CLE-approved session.


Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM)

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri logo

LSEM is a non-profit organization providing legal assistance to low-income people in civil matters. Areas of client assistance include representation of domestic violence victims, tenants’ rights and other housing matters, public benefits, immigration and human trafficking, children’s access to education, guardianships, and assistance to the elderly. LSEM also has a Community Economic Development Program that provides legal advice to low-income entrepreneurs and non-profits that serve low income communities.

  • Opportunities: attorneys are needed as volunteers to assist clients in the foregoing areas
  • Qualifications/Requirements: a current Missouri law license in good standing and a desire to help



Missouri Coalition for the Right to Counsel

Missouri Coalition for the Right to Counsel is a 501(c)(3) Missouri non-profit organization that provides training for attorneys interested in volunteering to receive case assignments from the Missouri State Public Defender. As a result, volunteer attorneys have a realistic opportunity to gain priceless jury trial experience while ensuring defendants receive quality counsel.

The Coalition has received the support of the Public Defender Commission, the Missouri State Public Defender (Michael Barrett), Missouri Supreme Court (Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge), Presiding Judges in the Circuit Courts of the City and County of St. Louis and Jefferson County, and President of The Missouri Bar (Dana Tippin Cutler).

As of June 8, 2017, 45 felony jury cases and 5 cases on appeal have been assigned to volunteer lawyers.

Volunteers are required to attend a two-day training, sponsored by the Missouri State Public Defender (MCLE approved), where they learn fundamental trial skills and criminal law and procedure. The next training session will be held on October 5-6, 2017 at Bryan Cave LLP. Space is limited.

The training will be held at Bryan Cave’s downtown Metropolitan Square offices located at 211 N. Broadway in St. Louis, MO 63102. Free parking is available in the building.

The dates of the training, on October 5 and 6, coincide with the arrival of the 2017 class of newly licensed lawyers, who could jump start their litigation careers by undertaking this valuable, free training. The training fulfills all of one’s annual CLE credits, and, as many past participants have observed, provides trial skills applicable to civil trials too.

For additional information or to sign up, please contact Richard Scherrer at the City of St. Louis Public Defender’s office, at 314-340-7625 ext. 237 or via email at


NAACP of St. Louis City


NAACP of St. Louis County

Advocates for Educational Reform (AFER) Program
Volunteer lawyers needed to represent underprivileged children in:

  • St. Louis County Family Court; and
  • St. Louis County Public Schools at suspension hearings.


Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts (VLAA)

VLAA offers legal and accounting assistance to artists and arts organizations with arts-related legal and accounting problems. Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts logo

  • Opportunities: volunteer lawyers work one-on-one with clients regarding arts-related legal issues, recruit volunteer lawyers, accept speaking engagements for VLAA , write or edit VLAA publications or participate in the Arts Resolutions Services program as a mediator; law students may work on research projects, working independently or in small groups or assist with administrative tasks.
  • Qualifications and Requirements: volunteer lawyers may work on one case per year which generally requires less than five hours of time spread over several weeks; law students must submit a letter of interest and current resume to