For more than 30 years, the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Volunteer Legal Services Program (VLSP) has served thousands of people in desperate need of legal help, with the assistance of volunteer attorneys, social workers, and legal advocates. Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal) is the largest provider of free civil legal services throughout the Bay Area committed to providing meaningful access to the civil justice system for Bay Area residents living in poverty regardless of a client’s location, language, or disability. VLSP and BayLegal are now collaborating to establish a new pilot project for transitioning and retired attorneys.
The Pro Bono Institute’s Second Acts pilot project at VLSP and BayLegal will engage transitioning and retired attorneys in a range of opportunities based on interest, time, and resources. This includes creating an expert litigation panel to utilize the extensive experience of transitioning and retired attorneys to expand much needed representation and provide mentorship to less experienced volunteer attorneys. VLSP and BayLegal also plan to engage experienced attorneys in policy dialogue regarding redevelopment efforts in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunter’s Point community, and with City officials, the District Attorney, and the Police Department concerning the prosecution of homeless people for the “status crime” of being homeless. By identifying pressing legal needs and by leveraging strong relationships with large firms in the Bay Area, the pilot project will engage transitioning and retired attorneys in leadership roles on pro bono.