ACCESS TO LEGAL SERVICES COMMITTEE – $11,000
The Virginia State Bar’s Access to Legal Services Committee fosters support for free and reduced-fee legal services with the goal of improving access to the legal system for all Virginians and for nonprofit charitable and civic groups that serve the public good. It promotes pro bono services by Virginia lawyers and encourages the integrated development of like contributions by law school faculty and students, lay mediators, court reporters, interpreters, tax accountants, paralegals, and members of related professions. Virginia Law Foundation (VLF) funds will help in printing and distributing a seven-page “Free and Low-Cost Legal Resources in Virginia” pamphlet in English and Spanish to assist low-income families in Virginia in obtaining legal services.
CancerLINC – $10,000
Central Virginia-based CancerLINC (formerly the Legal Information Network for Cancer) has been linking people with resources that ease the day-to-day challenges of cancer for 20 years. CancerLINC connects cancer patients and their families with legal assistance, financial guidance, and community resources and, by doing so, to the efforts of some of Virginia’s most dedicated volunteer attorneys. These pro bono attorneys can help cancer patients solve many of the problems they face, including eviction, bankruptcy, custody battles, and employment security. VLF funds will be used to increase the number of volunteer attorneys who will assist CancerLINC clients, to increase the number of people CancerLINC serves with Core and Outreach Services to 650, and to raise awareness of CancerLINC’s mission and services.
CAPITAL AREA IMMIGRANTS’ RIGHTS COALITION – $50,000
The Virginia Justice Program (VJP) is a recent programmatic initiative of the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition (CAIR). It strives to ensure that noncitizens receive equal justice in Virginia criminal courts and that attorneys meet their constitutional obligations under federal and state law. VLF funds will allow VJP to implement a new strategy for multi-level outreach to train court-appointed attorneys; to maintain and update critical resources; to continue to provide individualized consultation services to public defenders and court-certified attorneys; and to further develop its new impact litigation arm, “The Crim-Imm Pro Bono Project.”
CAPITAL DEFENSE WORKSHOP – $26,500
The Virginia Bar Association’s annual Capital Defense Workshop is designed for criminal defense attorneys willing to accept appointment in capital cases. Each year, approximately 250 lawyers attend the Capital Defense Workshop to help them meet standards set for the defense of capital cases in Virginia by the Virginia Supreme Court and the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission, in conjunction with the Virginia State Bar. It is the only educational program that covers both the forensics and litigation training requirements for Virginia lawyers representing defendants charged with capital murder. VLF funds allow the workshop to be presented with only a nominal charge to registrants.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CIVIL LEGAL SERVICES PROGRAM – $25,000
Since 1966, the Legal Aid Society of Roanoke Valley (LASRV) has been applying a full range of expert legal services to identify and resolve the most critical civil injustices facing low-income people. The Domestic Violence Civil Legal Services Program was started 15 years ago in response to a growing concern about how family violence affects low-income communities. VLF funds will allow LASRV to expand its domestic abuse services, including family violence, custody, divorce, and nonsupport. The organization plans to increase its case load by 50% and provide education and outreach in the community.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONFERENCES – $8,000
It is the mission of the Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society (SVLAS) to champion equal justice for low-income Virginians. To this end, it has been providing free civil legal services to low-income families in seventeen counties and four small cities in Southwest Virginia for more than four decades. VLF funds will help SVLAS host two day-long Domestic Violence Conferences that provide no-cost training and education for 250 to 300 professionals who serve victims of domestic violence. The conference programming includes a variety of workshops that address the legal and social needs of victims of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault.
HILL TUCKER PRE-LAW INSTITUTE – $15,000
Named for legendary civil rights attorneys Oliver Hill and Samuel Tucker, the Hill Tucker Pre-Law Institute is presented by the Virginia State Bar Diversity Conference and Young Lawyers Conference. It seeks to increase diversity in the legal profession by reaching future lawyers at an early age. For one week each June, high school students from all over Virginia are introduced to the legal profession while living on a college campus. Participants attend mock classes and seminars on career opportunities in the law, learn test-taking strategies, and are exposed to the college admissions process. The institute culminates in a mock trial and graduation banquet. The VLF sponsors this annual program, which is offered at no cost to attendees.
IMMIGRATION LEGAL SERVICES PROGRAM – $20,000
The Commonwealth Catholic Charities’ Immigration Legal Services Program connects moderate- to low-income individuals with reliable legal advice on issues concerning family unity, domestic violence, political asylum claims, and refugee status. The program offers consultations and low-cost services so that immigration documents are handled correctly the first time and by a reliable source. VLF funds will allow the program to accept 25% more pro bono asylum cases, to allocate additional resources to training staff who must adjust eligibility screening to accommodate new executive orders and department memos, and to hire additional part-time staff to help handle inquiries and process more applications.
Jazz4Justice™ – $3,000
Jazz4Justice™ partners local bar associations with university or community college music programs to raise funds for legal aid services, pro bono law programs, and music scholarships. The school plans a jazz concert showcasing students, professors, and other local talent, while the local bar association finds sponsors and assists with marketing and ticket sales. The proceeds are split evenly. VLF funds will enable expansion of partnerships into Southwest Virginia, the Eastern Shore, and Southside as well as enhancement of the organization’s “how to” materials.
JUSTICE IN THE CLASSROOM PROGRAM – $49,000
Bringing the history and importance of the rule of law in America to the students of today is a difficult task. The John Marshall Foundation’s Justice in the Classroom Program brings federal and state judges into public school classrooms for presentations and discussions with students about the constitutional foundation of our nation, our three co-equal branches of government, the rule of law, and the role of the judiciary in preserving the rights and liberties of all citizens. The program includes the development of grade-level appropriate curriculums. VLF funds will aid in the expansion to Northern Virginia, the Roanoke area, and Southwest Virginia, enabling the program to recruit and train attorneys and judges in these regions as well as to update the curriculum to accommodate new state Standards of Learning.
LAWYERS HELPING LAWYERS – $25,000
Lawyers Helping Lawyers helps Virginia’s legal professionals with debilitating addiction or mental health conditions take the first steps toward recovery with confidential, 24-hour assistance. The program provides many services, including verification of a problem, planning and implementing interventions, referral to treatment providers, support from and for peers, support for family members, establishing and monitoring rehabilitation contracts, and assisting and identifying financial resources for treatment. VLF funds will be used to create secure access portals so that clinicians and volunteers may use the case management systems remotely while protecting client confidentiality. This will expand the organization’s ability to reach a greater number of impaired legal professionals.
PUBLIC SERVICE INTERNSHIPS – $50,000
Supported by the VLF since 1990, public service internships for first- and second-year law students help bring to light the importance of public interest and pro bono work. Each of Virginia’s eight American Bar Association-accredited law schools receives funding for public service internships during the summer. The students work under the supervision of an attorney. The work they complete varies widely, depending on the missions and caseloads of their host organizations. Some students gain experience working on individual client matters, and some work on projects affecting many clients in the organization’s service area. The organizations benefit from the interns’ contributions as they assist indigent clients and facilitate the administration of justice.
THE BRIDGE MINISTRY – $2,500
The Bridge Ministry works in Central Virginia to help men “bridge” the gap from addiction and incarceration to productive community and family life through mentoring, education, vocational skills training, and job placement. Men apply to be part of the program, which is increasingly selective as it moves through three phases: 1) preparation inside the correctional facility; 2) an 18-month vocational skills and counseling program at a retreat center in Buckingham County; and 3) community reintegration through a transitional housing program in Charlottesville. VLF funds will provide operating support geared to curtailing recidivism, lowering unemployment, and reducing homelessness.
VLF/VBA RULE OF LAW PROJECT – $60,000
The Rule of Law Project seeks to fundamentally change the way the rule of law is taught in America’s schools. It is a unique educational program that pairs members of local bar associations with middle school civics teachers to educate students about the origin, meaning, and applicability of the rule of law as the basis of democratic ideals and institutions. This collaboration among teachers, lawyers, and judges empowers students at a formative age to become active and engaged citizens as adults and serves as a model program easily adaptable to social studies classes at any grade level. The project also builds relationships with all local bar associations to further integrate the program into communities.
VIRGINIA BEACH JUSTICE INITIATIVE – $20,000
The purpose of the Virginia Beach Justice Initiative is to end human trafficking in the Hampton Roads area through awareness, prevention initiatives, and intervention strategies that meet the needs of trafficking survivors. The nonprofit also introduces trafficking victims to the possibility of a new beginning through advocacy and an innovative jail program. The program is building its infrastructure with a full-time case manager who coordinates support services and screens victims of human trafficking.
VIRGINIA POVERTY LAW CENTER – $25,000
For more than three decades, Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC) has been providing leadership, support, training, public education, and advocacy to address the civil legal needs of Virginia’s low-income population. The VLF grant will help to fund VPLC’s annual Statewide Legal Aid Conference, which educates legal aid attorneys and staff on those issues that most affect low-income Virginians. The three-day conference includes nearly fifty training sessions on health, family, housing, and other areas of civil poverty law. It also provides attorneys with the opportunity to earn their required CLE credits at little or no cost and provides a meeting ground for legal aid attorneys and staff to discuss the latest developments in the valuable work they do.