Pro Bono
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You Can Help Your Clients Receive Pro Bono Legal Assistance

In addition to supporting community-based nonprofits through the Nonprofit Legal Assistance Program, the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center also provides assistance to low-income individuals seeking legal information, advice, and representation in a range of civil legal matters.  If clients of your organization need help with fighting eviction by their landlord, obtaining custody of their children, filing for bankruptcy, or appealing a denial of a disability claim, consider referring them to one of the Pro Bono Center’s clinics or resource centers, or to its informational website or Legal Help Line. In addition to obtaining legal information and brief assistance, some individuals may be eligible for long-term pro bono representation.


The Pro Bono Center operates four clinics, which offer a range of services, from legal information to brief advice and full representation.  If one of your clients is interested in obtaining full representation in a housing, family law, public benefits, personal injury defense, consumer law, or bankruptcy case, you should encourage your client to attend the monthly Advice & Referral Clinic in order to have the case evaluated for possible evaluation.

Advice & Referral Clinic: Held the second Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Bread for the City’s offices in Northwest and Southeast, the Advice & Referral Clinic offers individuals free brief advice and assistance from a pro bono attorney. Assistance is available in a range of areas, including:

  • Bankruptcy and debt collection
  • Consumer law and health care benefits  
  • Employment law - Divorce, custody, and child support proceedings  
  • Housing law, such as landlord–tenant issues  
  • Personal injury  
  • Probate matters
  • Public benefits, such as Social Security disability appeals  
  • Individual tax liability.

Please note that the clinic cannot provide advice or assistance on criminal matters. The clinic operates on a walk-in basis.

Advocacy & Justice Clinic: The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center’s Advocacy & Justice Clinic provides free representation to clients unable to afford counsel in cases involving housing, family law, public benefits, personal injury defense, and consumer law.  Clients are matched with volunteer attorneys. To qualify, applicants must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty guideline. Prospective clients may obtain a referral by attending the Pro Bono Center’s monthly Advice & Referral Clinic, or by visiting a court-based resource center or another legal aid organization.

Bankruptcy Clinic: The Bankruptcy Clinic provides full representation to individuals filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions who fall at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. Volunteer attorneys represent individuals by providing advice, preparing the petition and related schedules, attending the meeting of creditors, and otherwise handling all aspects of the bankruptcy process. To be referred to the clinic, individuals should first attend the Pro Bono Center's Advice & Referral Clinic, held the second Saturday of every month at Bread for the City (please see above).

Immigration Legal Advice & Referral Clinic: Held quarterly, the Immigration Legal Advice & Referral Clinic is staffed by volunteer attorneys, many of whom speak other languages. The volunteers work with experienced mentors to provide brief information, advice and referral services to individuals with immigration-related questions.  There is no income limit for participants.

Resource Centers

In addition to its clinics, the Pro Bono Center operates three court-based centers, staffed by pro bono attorneys who provide information and limited services to self-represented individuals.  If your clients have a legal matter pending in court, you can refer them to the resource centers, where they can get assistance before they go into the courtroom.  The resource centers can also refer individuals to attorneys for full representation though the Pro Bono Center’s Advocacy & Justice Clinic and Bankruptcy Clinic.

Landlord Tenant Resource Center: The Landlord Tenant Resource Center provides legal information and assistance to pro se litigants in landlord-tenant matters each weekday beginning at 9:15 a.m.  Unrepresented tenants and landlords can speak with a volunteer attorney to help them understand court proceedings, prepare pro se pleadings, obtain continuances and retain counsel, receive referrals to legal services providers, and get tips on how to present their cases in court. Customers can also obtain information about social services and financial resources.

Consumer Law Resource Center: Each Wednesday from 9:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., volunteer attorneys and legal assistants provide pro se assistance in consumer-related matters, including debt collection, the Consumer Protection Procedures Act, home improvement contractor disputes and predatory lending matters.  The Resource Center refers customers who need full representation to other legal services providers, including the Pro Bono Center’s Advocacy & Justice Clinic.

Probate Resource Center: The Probate Resource Center provides legal information and assistance to pro se litigants with questions regarding large estate administration.  A walk-in service, located in Room 319 in Building A of the D.C. Superior Court and open 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoons, is available to assist with issues of large estate administration.  The Probate Resource Center also partners with the Register of Wills to provide assistance with adult guardianship and conservatorship issues, and individuals interested in this service should contact the Register of Wills to make an appointment by calling (202) 879-9452.

Online Resources If your client has a legal question, can help you locate legal resources to assist them. The site offers plain-language resources, links, articles, automated pro se pleadings, and referral information in the following topic areas: Consumer, Employment, Family Law, Housing, Immigration/Asylum, Life and Estate Planning/Guardianship, Military and Veterans, Nonprofit Law, Public Benefits, Small Business Law, and Taxation.  A Spanish-language companion site includes many of the self-help resources available on the English language site. Some resources are also translated into Amharic, Chinese, French, and Vietnamese.

Phone Information

Legal Information Help Line: The legal information help line is another resource for your clients.  It is an automated system of recorded messages that provides basic information on more than 30 legal topics, as well as information on finding an attorney and on the availability of free legal services.  The help line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in Amharic, English, French, and Spanish.  The help line number is 202-626-3499.

While many individuals may have their legal needs met by a visit to a resource center or brief-assistance clinic, others may require comprehensive legal representation.  In order for the Pro Bono Center to evaluate prospective clients’ eligibility for full representation, individuals must be referred to one of the two clinics that match litigants with pro bono attorneys:  the Advocacy & Justice Clinic (housing, family law, public benefits, consumer, and personal injury defense matters) or the Bankruptcy Clinic.  Prospective clients may obtain a referral by attending the Pro Bono Center’s monthly Advice & Referral Clinic, or by visiting a court-based resource center or another legal aid organization.
If you have questions about any of the resources listed above, please contact Kristen Hainzer at (202) 737-4700, ext. 3292 or at [email protected].