December 17, 2017

Post-Decree Clinics Continue to Serve Families

Editor’s Note: Pro Bono Week is this week, October 24-28, 2011. The Denver Bar Association has put together several days of events and parties for Pro Bono week, to recognize and celebrate the commitment to pro bono client services. Click here for more information.

More than 10 years after launching its first post-decree clinic with Faegre & Benson, Metro Volunteer Lawyers continues to serve clients whose legal problems arise after permanent orders have been entered in divorce and custody cases.

The first post-decree clinic began in 2000 as a collaborative effort between MVL and Faegre & Benson. It was the first post-decree family law clinic of its kind offered anywhere. Not only did Faegre & Benson make available its staff and attorneys to provide legal services to these clients, they also created and implemented a program to train and supervise attorneys participating in the post-decree clinic.

Over time, the post-decree clinic program has expanded. In an effort to address growing community needs, Faegre & Benson reached out to recruit and collaborate with other well-respected firms, starting with  Holland & Hart for additional clinics in Denver. Later, they worked with The Harris Law Firm to conduct clinics in Adams and Arapahoe counties for a year in order to expand, at least temporarily, the reach of those  who could be served by MVL.

Today, MVL and our partner firms—Faegre & Benson, Holland & Hart, and Johnson Sauer Legal Group—conduct post-decree clinics each month at the Denver and Jefferson County District Courts. Volunteers prepare relevant motions, pleadings, and proposed orders for people who are representing themselves in ongoing litigation. The attorneys simply advise the clients regarding the limited scope of representation and indicate on each document they produce for the clients, per Rule 11, that they have assisted with the preparation of those documents.

To keep volunteers active and interested, Faegre & Benson also hosts and coordinates an annual post-decree training CLE for all post-decree clinic volunteers to better educate the attorneys who provide the post-decree legal services. They also host a volunteer appreciation holiday party each year and feature MVL. The continued success and growth of the post-decree clinics is a true testament to the continued leadership and commitment that the firms that sponsor the post-decree clinics make to MVL to support and provide pro bono legal services.

We at MVL cannot thank our partners and supporters enough for their continued support of MVL, and look forward to our continued partnership and success in the future.

Dianne Van Voorhees is the executive director of Metro Volunteer Lawyers.

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