Nuts and Bolts Guides to Pro Bono in Missouri

Deskbook for Pro Bono Attorneys

This virtual deskbook was created on the initiative of the Supreme Court Commission on Pro Se Litigation (now named Committee on Access to Family Courts) to support and appreciate the many attorneys across the state providing pro bono legal services to needy persons.  The deskbook covers a variety of topics that will assist attorneys in providing pro bono assistance, such as special factors in representing pro bono clients, mediation and basic courtroom manners, as well as substantive guides and tools, such as sample pleadings, information on senior citizen issues, Medicaid programs, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, dissolution basics, tenant issues and name changes. Please click the above link to access the deskbook.

Malpractice Protection for Pro Bono Attorneys

For retired, government and corporate attorneys, lack of malpractice insurance can be a major barrier to volunteering, but Missouri state law provides free malpractice protection for pro bono attorneys who work through a government or charitable tax-exempt agency and do not receive any compensation and federal law, the Volunteer Protection Act, 42 USC Sections 14501-05, also provides some protection for volunteers. Please click the above link for more information.

Missouri Bar Forms Library

Pro bono attorneys are always looking for forms and practice aids. If you have a form or practice aid which you designed and would like to share, go to the Forms Bank in The Missouri Bar's connect.MOBAR platform and upload your form or guide to be shared with other lawyers.

Nutshell Guide to Limited Scope Representation

Limited representation is a practical approach to pro bono legal services.  If the matter is simple and the pro bono client capable, time and expense can be saved by the limited scope representation approach.  Many pro bono clients are capable of acting as pro se litigants with limited assistance, such as having a lawyer draft the pleadings and a proposed judgment.  Please click the above link for information about the Missouri Supreme Court’s rules on limited representation and numerous tools and forms.

Missouri Legal Services Disaster Manual

This manual was prepared to assist Missourians who are or may be affected by disasters. It was also prepared to assist Missouri lawyers whose clients may be facing legal issues new to the lawyers or unique to disasters. This manual is designed to assist and train those volunteer lawyers who graciously agree to help disaster survivors through on-site assistance.

YLS Domestic Violence Guide

A Practical Guide for Survivors (2011 ed.) – 68-page booklet for victims of domestic violence jointly published by YLS, the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Missouri Office of Prosecution Services. The booklet includes practical information about Missouri’s civil and criminal domestic violence laws and procedures, including preparing for a hearing and working with law enforcement and a comprehensive and detailed list of Missouri’s domestic and sexual violence resources, such as shelters, legal representation, crisis intervention, therapy programs, etc.

Other Pro Bono Resources

ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono & Public Service

The mission of the Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service is to ensure access to justice through the expansion and enhancement of the delivery of legal and other law-related services to the underserved through volunteer efforts of legal professionals nationwide. The Committee fosters the development of pro bono programs and activities by law firms, bar associations, corporate legal departments, law schools, government attorney offices and others; analyzes the scope and function of pro bono programs; and proposes and reviews policy that affects lawyers' ability to provide pro bono legal services.

Access to Family Court’s Guide to Representing Yourself in Missouri Courts

This website is designed to provide information and resources for those involved in family law matters in the state of Missouri. Topics include the litigant awareness program, getting a lawyer, stopping abuse and stalking, resources by county, court staff assistant, dispute resolution, legal forms, legal terms and FAQ page.

Identifying Polyvictimization and Trauma Among Court-Involved Children and Youth

According to research done by the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, most young people that enter the juvenile or adult justice system has been exposed to violence and other traumatic events, often experiencing trauma multiple times. Further research also shows that the greater the degree of exposure, the more likely the child will suffer physically, socially and emotionally. This research led to the creation of this free toolkit, available online and intended for use in the justice system. Lawyers can use the toolkit’s checklist to help identify and better understand what violence and other distress their child clients have experienced.

The Judges’ Tool Kit on Pro Bono Legal Assistance

The goal of this tool kit is to increase access to justice for people living at the margins of society by providing you, the judges of Missouri, with the tools and incentives to encourage and support pro bono legal representation.

Legal Project Bank

Legal Project Bank matches law students to work with attorneys on specific projects. It’s free to the attorneys and gives them access to research and free labor and gives students real world experience

Missouri Attorney General Publications

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office offers a variety of consumer publications, including some in Spanish. Topics include landlord tenant, discrimination, eviction, sweepstakes, telemarketing, loans and credit scams, payday lending, pre-need funeral issues, identity theft and adoption.

Missouri Bar Public Information Brochures

These brochures provide background information for the general public on legal topics such as probate law, family law, consumer law, domestic violence, landlord/tenant law, and more. It is a very good resource to share with pro bono clients and help them understand the complexity of the legal system.

United Way 2-1-1

The United Way 2-1-1 website provides information to those in need of help, including legal aid. Lawyers can volunteer for to provide pro bono assistance for a variety of fields, including elder law, mediation, and immigration.