Here are the answers to questions we get asked most often.
Can you give me a free lawyer?
No, the VLP will not provide you a free attorney to go to court for you. VLP staff and volunteers help you help yourself by providing opportunities speak with a volunteer attorney about your case. The volunteer will give you advice about what you can do with your case and review your forms, but they will not act as your attorney. You are responsible for all required actions in your case.
How will the VLP help me?
The VLP is designed to provide legal education and guidance so you are better prepared to face your legal matter. The VLP offers clinic appointments where you can meet one-on-one with a volunteer attorney, videos to teach you about court procedures and help you fill out your forms, and volunteers in the courtrooms.
The VLP has volunteer lawyers in the courtrooms for the Family Law Status Conference docket, the Civil Motion docket, and the Unlawful Detainer docket to help prepare final documents and answer questions. What are these about?
Status Conference – In court volunteer attorneys are there to review final documents related to Family Law matters.
Civil Motion Docket – In court attorneys are present to help you negotiate settlements of garnishment/collection actions. The volunteers may be available to assist further privately on a case by case basis.
Unlawful Detainer Docket (evictions) – In court volunteer attorneys are present to help negotiate terms (possible additional time, lower fees etc.).
How do I get help from the VLP?
The VLP conducts intakes in-person at the Spokane County Bar Association and accepts applicants through our online application. Completing an intake or submitting an online application does not guarantee acceptance into the program. All applications are reviewed by VLP staff for income requirements before acceptance. Participants are also referred to the VLP through the the CLEAR intake line. The best time to call CLEAR is early during the day from 9:15 AM to 12:15 PM.
I called CLEAR, but I haven't heard anything from the VLP. What should I do?
After you have called CLEAR, CLEAR refers you to the legal aid program that is capable of assisting with your legal issue. If you are referred to the VLP, VLP staff office will call you within two weeks of your CLEAR referral. Please be patient. We are a nonprofit staffed primarily by volunteers. During holidays or busy times it can take longer for the VLP to get in touch with you.
I want to get help from the VLP, but I am unable to drive to Spokane. Is there another way to get help?
All VLP clinics and classes are held in Spokane. If you are unable to travel to Spokane for an in-person appointment, we can make a telephone appointment. The VLP prefers that you come to Spokane; telephone appointments limit the amount of assistance you can receive.
How should I prepare for my clinic appointment?
Before coming to your clinic appointment,
Fill out your forms as much as possible – mark any questions you are unsure of how to answer.
Gather all your case information to bring with you (this includes all documents you have filed or been served ).
Write a list of specific questions you have for the volunteer.
Bring $10 in cash for your clinic fee.
Can I have more than one clinic appointment?
Yes, you can have more than one clinic appointment. After your appointment you may call the office to schedule another, but you can't make more than one appointment at a time.
How long will the VLP help me?
Each program participant is allowed a maximum of 5 hours of volunteer time. The VLP will assist you until this time has run out. Clinic appointments, phone calls, and emails all count toward this time. When your matter is completed, the VLP will close your case. For help after this time, you must call the CLEAR line to seek assistance.
Will I see the same lawyer every time?
No, you probably won’t see the same volunteer every time. The attorneys who help at the clinics volunteer their time based on their private practice schedule.
What if I don’t agree with what the lawyer tells me?
The attorney speaking to you at the clinic appointment is not your lawyer, so you can choose not to follow their advice. This is your case, and you are free to take whatever actions you would like with it.