Did you know that the State Bar of Texas recommends that every attorney perform 50 hours of pro bono service a year?
SALSA can make it easy for you to reach this goal!
We’ve even created remote volunteer opportunities to provide services during the ongoing public health crisis.
We are aware that due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19, remote volunteer opportunities are preferable. Most of our volunteer opportunities are remote. Not every client has access to Internet and is able to participate via zoom meetings, but most clients have access to a phone. Our volunteers have found creative ways to promote remote representation or to otherwise “make it work” so that health and safety of both the volunteer and the client can be maintained. During your representation, if you need help facilitating communication with your client, please let us know. We are happy to help!
What are you looking for in a volunteer experience?
VOLUNTEER FOR A CLINIC
Veterans Legal Advice Clinic (currently remote)
Held every other Friday, the Veterans Legal Advice Clinic is a way to give counsel and advice to veterans seeking assistance on a myriad of legal issues including consumer, contracts/warranties, ID recovery, child support, adoption, name change, paternity, landlord/tenant, homeownership/real property, public housing, public benefits, military discharge upgrades, and more. Your representation of the client concludes at the end of the clinic but there may be opportunities for extended representation arising out of this clinic.
Wills Clinic (currently remote)
Provide Wills, medical POAs, statutory durable POAs, declarations of guardianship, HIPAA releases, and physicians directives to qualifying clients seeking estate planning documents. All contact with the client occurs remotely, and volunteers are provided training videos, sample forms for all documents that will be drafted for the client, and mentorship for completion of the documents. We match clients with volunteers the first week of the month, and the volunteer and client complete the documents together on a schedule that suits them. Instructions are provided for notarization of the documents.
Alternatives to Guardianship Clinic (currently remote)
Draft supported decision-making agreements and powers of attorney for adults with disabilities. SALSA works in conjunction with TRLA, Disability Rights Texas, the Arc of San Antonio, and St. Mary’s Law School to host this clinic and provide adults with disabilities these valuable resources, which can help them enter adulthood without the need for a guardianship. The ATG Clinics occur 2-3 times per year. Training and forms are provided, and mentors are available to answer questions during the clinic.
Small Estate Clinic (currently remote)
Provide advice to indigent families who have filed a small estate affidavit (SEA) with the Bexar County probate courts, but who do not have enough knowledge or expertise to complete the application correctly or who have incorrectly filed a SEA. COVID-19 has impacted families and caused many tragic and unexpected deaths, shining a light on the severe need for probate assistance in San Antonio. A SEA is the only pro se probate option, which means people who wouldn’t qualify or whose situation is not suited for a SEA end up applying for one at the advice of banks or other financial institutions. Volunteers will meet with the client remotely in a help desk setting. The client will receive a checklist of items to bring to the meeting so that the attorney and client may productively discuss the assets and debts of the estate to determine whether the SEA or some other method, such as Affidavit of Heirship or Independent Administration, are better suited for the client’s needs. Resources will be provided to volunteers, including any available notes about why the court rejected the SEA, training videos, pleadings, other pertinent materials, and mentorship.
PARTICIPATE IN A PROGRAM
Tenants’ Rights Program (currently remote)
Due to COVID-19 more San Antonians than ever are facing eviction. As rules and guidelines surrounding evictions continue to change, we appreciate that pro se representation is becoming more difficult. Your representation can be limited to counsel and advice or extended to court appearances (via zoom) or appeals – it is up to you! Volunteers will have access to training materials and mentorship, and staff will keep you abreast of changes in the law. The goals of this program are to assist clients in obtaining financial relief from available resources through the City of San Antonio or other programs, help the client complete and turn in the CDC Declaration when applicable, negotiate with the landlord to avoid the stain of eviction, and prevent homelessness.
Protective Order Program (currently remote)
We invite you to join us as we partner with TRLA to ensure that ALL victims of intimate partner violence needing protective orders have access to legal assistance. We are seeing an increase in domestic violence due to the isolation victims are experiencing because of the restrictions implemented during COVID-19. By obtaining a protective order, a victim of domestic violence can get one step closer to escaping a dangerous situation and keeping themselves and their children safe. Work in tandem with paralegals and law students who are passionate about making an impact in this area. Resources will be provided to you, including training videos, pleadings, and other pertinent materials, and mentorship is available.
Expunction & Non-Disclosure Program (currently remote).
VTC graduates must file their proposed order in person within 30 days for waiver of fees – all other cases can be filed electronically.
This program serves graduates of the Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) and individuals facing homelessness because they are unable to obtain housing because of a past criminal conviction that is eligible for expunction or non-disclosure. VTC graduates have only 30 days after the court’s final action to apply for expunction/non-disclosure to avoid incurring fees that can be prohibitively expensive. Indigent clients are paired with volunteer attorneys who assist them with applying for expunction or non-disclosure of their qualifying offense.
Mentors are available to assist volunteer attorneys who are outside of their traditional practice area.
EXTENDED REPRESENTATION – TAKE A CASE
Ready to help in your primary area of expertise?
To take a SALSA case, there’s just one core requirement: you must be a Texas-licensed attorney in good standing, be working under the supervision of a Texas-licensed attorney in good standing, or qualify for some “exemption” from the State Bar that permits you to participate in pro bono work. SALSA provides malpractice insurance for volunteers on our pro bono cases, so you do not need to carry your own. SALSA provides access to Texas State Bar practice manuals and other resources for your use on your pro bono cases.
Check out SALSA’s available cases to see which extended representation opportunity is right for you. Subject matter areas may include uncontested guardianship of the person, uncontested probate for independent administration, real estate title, landlord/tenant issues, contracts and warranties, etc.
Ready to take a case? Start your pro bono service by:
- Expressing interest in an available case
- Reaching out for assistance with selecting the right case for you
- Agreeing to assist when a SALSA staff member calls or emails you about taking a case
Area of Special Focus:
Help a veteran file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. With recent world events, pro bono clients need personal bankruptcy representation now more than ever. We are seeking volunteers to take on a remote representation Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case. SALSA staff will help facilitate gathering all documentation from the client in preparation for volunteer representation, and mentorship is available to our volunteers who have questions during their representation.