RILS collaborated with the Rhode Island Bar Association through its Volunteer Lawyer Program to assist in increasing awareness of available resources in the battle to stop the foreclosure crisis. Pro Bono assistance and outreach are important tools in Rhode Island’s battle to stop foreclosures.
In 2013, two “Ask a Lawyer” events were sponsored by the Volunteer Lawyer Program and held at WJAR Channel 10. At each of these evening call-in events, four volunteer attorneys fielded calls from the public in regard to the rights of homeowners and tenants.
In addition, RILS and the VLP jointly presented two trainings, “Foreclosure Prevention & Defense for Homeowners & Tenants,” and “A Roadmap to Loan Modification and Loss Mitigation.” In order to register, attorneys agreed to join the Volunteer Lawyer Program and accept a pro bono case or to provide basic legal advice at a community clinic. Attendance was over 40 participants at both seminars, allowing effective placement of cases that are a conflict for Rhode Island Legal Services.
Rhode Island Legal Services spends an amount equal to at least 12.5% of its Legal Services Corporation Basic Field Grant on private attorney involvement sub-granting IOLTA funds to the Rhode Island Bar Association to administer the Volunteer Lawyer Program (VLP).