Keeley Nickelson Reflects on Pro Bono Work for VLSP

Attorney Keeley Nickelson was recently interviewed by Vicki Jacobs, the managing attorney of Voluntary Legal Services Program of Northern California (VLSP). The article “VLSP’s Family Law Assistance Project: A Progress Report” appeared in the February issue of The Family Law Counselor, a publication for members of the Sacramento County Bar Association.

When asked about her involvement with the Family Law Assistance Project (FLAP), Keeley had the following words of inspiration:

 

“Volunteering to assist self-represented parties through VLSP/FLAP allows me to use my knowledge and experience to give back to our community. Simply because you can’t afford an attorney doesn’t mean you shouldn’t understand the process or your rights. When attorneys give back, the entire judicial system benefits.”

 

Some interesting excerpts and facts from the article include:

  • FLAP launched in March 2019 with the mission to help meet the needs of unrepresented litigants in the Sacramento Superior Court’s family law division
  • VLSP is jointly sponsored by the SCBA and Legal Services of Northern California.
  • In 2019, 192 clients were assisted, 106 of which were provided forms completion help in addition to legal advice.
  • Nearly 250 hours of attorney volunteer time was provided to FLAP clients in 2019.
  • 17% of the FLAP clients did not speak English as their first language, and 14% of last year’s clients are disabled.
  • A majority of the clients seeking FLAP services needed help with matters regarding their children, whether it be a change of custody or child support.
  • FLAP is focused on service Sacramento County clients.

 

According to VLSP co-founder, the Honorable James Mize of the Sacramento Superior Court:

“Family law is one of the most crucial areas of law where folks need representation and yet 75% of the litigants who appear before us are self-represented. Having VLSP assisting these families will be a godsend to them and will greatly increase the likelihood that justice will be done and that innocent children will have better outcomes. Again, the dedicated and generous family law lawyers of Sacramento are stepping up and giving their time and talent to do right by these families.” (via VLSP News page)

VLSP is always looking to expand its volunteer base of attorneys and paralegals. If you would like to find out more, please contact VLSP Assistant Program Manager Heather Tiffee at (916) 551-2153 or htiffee@vlsp.org.

 

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