Legal clinics serve a variety of purposes, not the least of which is to provide legal advice, support, and information. Volunteers, who happen to be law school students, do lots of pro bono and pre-paid work to meet the needs of community members. They may have offices within the school, plus an 800 number or website that disadvantaged people can visit.
Students offer research assistance to attorneys, often helping them in court and doing all the legwork, in terms of setting up meetings and interviewing clients. They also draft and file legal arguments, as well as assist with oral arguments in front of a court. Cases may vary from family law such as child custody, to criminal and domestic violence cases. Each legal clinic has its niche. For instance, some lawyers serve clients in homeless shelters.
As a volunteer or law student assisting with representation and advice for your community, you can enhance your skills in areas like communication and litigation. These clinics also provide an opportunity for networking with attorneys who are leaders in the community. A proper defense is something everyone is entitled too. But sometimes people just can’t afford the representation and aid they need to obtain justice. Because legal clinics are generally non-profit entities, they can provide low-cost legal services such as filing on a range of topics, from bankruptcy and debt elimination to wills and probate. Good skills to have in this business include strong research, organizational, negotiation, interviewing, and problem solving abilities.
People in need of a lawyer's services can seek out legal clinics through other resources in a community, such as town halls, doctors, shelters, family, and friends. They can call to set up a meeting in person or hold one over the phone; both are usually free.