Volunteer


The DeKalb Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (DVLF) enlists volunteer attorneys to provide pro bono legal services to low-income DeKalb County residents in civil matters.

The need for pro bono legal services for the low-income population in DeKalb County is enormous.  According to the 2012 American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 130,000 people live at or below the poverty level in DeKalb County, Georgia.  Our clients need help with legal issues such as Family/Domestic Violence, Landlord/Tenant, Consumer Debt, Bankruptcy, Wills and/or Social Security.

Thousands of attorneys have donated pro bono services through the DVLF. We are dedicated to making the public and the profession more aware of the pro bono efforts of our volunteer attorneys.

Benefits of membership in DVLF:

  • Receptions with DeKalb County judges and appellate judges, elected officials and guests
  • State Bar approved CLE courses at our cost
  • Attorneys accepting three or more pro bono referrals during a single calendar year may be entitled to receive a certificate for a $150.00 discount off the cost of an ICLE program.
  • Invaluable contribution to the DeKalb County community and the legal profession.

Who can join?

Any member in good standing of the State Bar of Georgia willing to meet the minimum membership requirements as set out in the application form and interested in serving the DeKalb Country community by supporting or providing pro bono legal services may join.

How do I join?

Please mail your application to:

DeKalb Volunteer Lawyers Foundation
Suite 561
315 West Ponce de Leon Avenue
Decatur, GA 30030



(Please click on a question to be taken directly to that question and answer.)


I already do pro bono work.  Why should I join the DeKalb Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (DVLF)?


Who is eligible for services?


How do I know I will be representing someone who is truly in need?


What about Malpractice Insurance?


What if I am not familiar with the area of law in a case?


What if my pro bono client cannot afford the filing fees?


What if my client needs a court reporter?


Can I receive attorney fees?


What if I do not have an office or my office would be inconvenient for clients?


What if my caseload is too heavy when DVLF refers a case?



Q. I already do pro bono work.  Why should I join the DeKalb Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (DVLF)?

A. The Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct encourage every attorney to render at least 50 hours per year of legal services, without fee or expectation of fee, to either persons of limited means or to charitable, civic or religious organizations.  True pro bono does not include legal services provided to clients who are able to pay for those services but fail to do so.

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Q. Who is eligible for services?

A. All clients must be DeKalb County residents, their incomes must be no more that 75% above the Federal Poverty Guidelines, which are adjusted annually, and their case must fall within the priorities set by the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

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Q. How do I know I will be representing someone who is truly in need?

A. Clients are screened for income eligibility and case priority before being referred to a volunteer attorney.  We require clients to provide income verification where possible and to sign a financial affidavit which confirms their eligibility.

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Q. What about Malpractice Insurance?

A. DVLF provides secondary malpractice insurance which covers your representation of clients referred by us.

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Q. What if I am not familiar with the area of law in a case?

A. Volunteer attorneys are only referred cases in which they have indicated expertise or a preference.  However, if you are interested in learning a new area of the law, mentors can usually be found.

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Q. What if my pro bono client cannot afford the filing fees?

A. Georgia law allows filing without cost in certain instances.  DVLF will provide necessary forms.  The client remains ultimately responsible for any out-of-pocket expenses.

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Q. What if my client needs a court reporter?

A. Under certain circumstances, the DVLF may provide pro bono court reporters through the Pro Bono Court Reporting Project.

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Q. Can I receive attorney fees?

A. Yes, but not from the pro bono client (except in certain social security cases).  However, you may seek and receive court awarded fees from the adverse party where provided for by law.

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Q. What if I do not have an office or my office would be inconvenient for clients?

A. DVLF provides a conference room at our office located near the downtown Decatur courthouse.  This facility can be used for client interviews or depositions in connection with representation of our clients.  Notaries Public are available should those services be needed.

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Q. What if my caseload is too heavy when DVLF refers a case?

A. Volunteer attorneys may always choose not to accept a case if their schedule prevents them from making a commitment at that particular time or if they do not feel comfortable handling a particular matter.

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