LAOC facilitates a Volunteer Attorney Program (VAP) where private attorneys agree to take cases for clients who have been screened through the LAOC intake process when Legal Assistance of Olmsted County cannot handle a legal matter due to: (1) a conflict of interest; (2) case not handled by LAOC; or (3) the current caseload at LAOC doesn’t permit the office to take the case.
Cases with which a volunteer attorney may help include:
- Landlord Tenant/Housing
- Property/Real Estate
- Elder Law/Probate/Wills
- Employment Law
This policy must be signed at the LAOC office in order for the Volunteer Coordinator to begin looking for a volunteer attorney.
- The program has a $50.00 administrative fee that must be paid to LAOC at the time you return this policy sheet, unless prior arrangements have been made with our office. We will not begin looking for a volunteer attorney to represent you until you have signed and returned the policy sheet and paid the above mentioned $50.00 administrative fee. Should we be unable to place you with a volunteer attorney, your $50.00 administrative fee will be refunded.
- The Volunteer Attorney Program DOES NOT guarantee that an attorney will be found within the timelines that are assigned to your case; however the VAP will continue to make all reasonable efforts to find a volunteer attorney for a period of four (4) months. If the VAP is unable to locate a volunteer within four (4) months, you will be notified that your file is being closed and that we will no longer try to find an attorney for you.
- The Volunteer Attorney Program does not accept appeals of any kind, criminal cases, and cases where attorney fees may be awarded. LAOC has discretion on whether to accept a case through the VAP.
- If a volunteer attorney is found for your case, the volunteer attorney is not obligated to represent you after your initial consultation appointment. In addition, if the volunteer attorney finds upon meeting with you that attorney fees may be awarded based upon the nature of your case (i.e. fee generating case), or if it is discovered that there are any assets or additional income that was not disclosed during the initial application process that would disqualify you for the VAP, that attorney has the right to reject your case on a volunteer basis and reserves the right to negotiate an appropriate retainer on a private basis only.
- If a volunteer attorney is found, it is your responsibility to contact the volunteer attorney to set up an initial consult appointment once our office has notified you of placement of your case. If you decide you no longer need an attorney, we ask that you contact us immediately, so that we do not continue to search for a volunteer attorney or if a volunteer attorney has been found, we may let them know not to expect your call. (Failure to comply with these steps may mean that the Volunteer Attorney Program cannot assist you in the future.)