Welcome and Introduction
Thank you for your interest in engaging in pro bono work through Legal Aid of West Virginia.
The mission of Legal Aid is simple. Seeking Justice, Changing Lives. Legal Aid is taking a stand to change the lives of low income West Virginians by providing access to justice to this vulnerable group.
Legal Aid of West Virginia has over 100 staff in 12 offices across West Virginia. We are the state’s primary provider for civil legal aid and advocacy services. While our staff handles thousands of cases each year, there are many more that we are unable to handle. Legal Aid relies on pro bono attorneys who are willing to bridge this gap and offer advice and support to the many low income clients that we don’t have the capacity to serve.
Legal Aid has put together comprehensive, online learning classrooms to allow pro bono attorneys, both experienced and unexperienced, to confidently provide services to clients. Inside each classroom you will find interactive learning resources to train and apply your knowledge; tip sheets and time lines on the particular area of law; interview guides; online document assembly forms; and additional resources for attorneys and clients.
Again, we thank you for your support and willingness to provide pro bono services to low income clients. Please do not hesitate to contact Legal Aid at any time for assistance and support. You can also visit our website for more information on legal topics.
Duty to provide Pro Bono Services.
The West Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 6.1 bestows upon lawyers the responsibility to provide legal services to those who are unable to pay.
Legal Aid of West Virginia provides an opportunity for attorneys to engage in pro bono work for low income clients. LAWV will provide support and resources through the representation of pro bono clients.
Pro Bono attorneys are able to sign up to take cases through LAWV's online Pro Bono Portal. Using the Portal, attorneys can obtain a brief synopsis of available cases and opt to provide services for the client.
Attorneys are covered by Legal Aid of West Virginia's malpractice insurance for all cases where pro bono services are provided through LAWV.
The Revised West Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct (January 2015) permit attorneys to provide ghostwriting as a form of limited representation.
RULE 1.2 SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION AND ALLOCATION OF AUTHORITY BETWEEN CLIENT AND LAWYER
Ghostwriting is a form of limited representation. A lawyer may provide legal assistance to litigants appearing before courts and other tribunals pro se and help them prepare written submissions without disclosing, or ensuring the disclosure to others, of such assistance. Undertaking to provide limited legal help does not alter any other aspect of the lawyer's professional responsibilities to the client. See Rule 3.3, comment 3
RULE 3.3 CANDOR TOWARD THE TRIBUNAL
Representations by a Lawyer
In accord with Rule 1.2(c), a lawyer may provide legal assistance to litigants appearing before courts or other tribunals pro se, including help in the preparation of written submissions, without disclosing such assistance or ensuring the disclosure to others. See Rule 1.2, comment 9.
Tips for Assisting Pro Bono Clients
6 Key Things to Know About Assisting Pro Bono Clients
- Be patient. Don't use legalese-explain things simply yet not condescendingly
- Expect Emotion
- Clients may be hard to reach and have difficulty balancing demands
- Stress confidentiality of relationship
- Try to meet in person, but be sensitive about the client's ability to travel
- Legal Aid is here to help with problems
Statutes and Rules
West Virginia Code
West Virginia Divorce Law is codified at WV Code §48-5-§48-8.
The West Virginia Code can be found at the West Virginia Legislature's website, or here as a pdf.
West Virginia Rules of Practice and Procedure for Family Court
The West Virginia Rules of Practice and Procedure for Famiy court can be found at the West Virginia Judiciary's website, or here as a pdf.
Documents Required for Filing
Divorce Law Outline
Outline of the Divorce Law Training module in pdf format.
Divorce Client Interview Guide
Flow Chart version of the Divorce Client Interview Guide in pdf format.
These are sample, generic documents in Word format that can be modified or used as guidance. A number of forms are avaialble as Law Help forms also. For the Law Help version, please go to "Documents Required for FIling."
If the residency of a person to whom notice is required is unknown, an Affidavit of Unknown Residency is required in order to obtain a Notice of Publication to allow notice of the proceeding to be published in the local newspaper of the last known residency of the person. Here are samples of the Affidavit of Unknown Residency, Order of Publication, and Letter to the Newspaper instructing the newspaper to publish the notice.
Motion for Temporary Relief
Below is a link to the West Virginia Supreme Court's Motion for Temporary Relief form.
Equitable Distribution Chart
Below is a sample Rule 22(b) with Certificate of Service that can be used after drating a temporary or final divorce order. This document is in Word format.
Qualified Domestic Relations Orders
Below are sample QDROs.
Below are forms for post-hearing rememdies.
LAWV would appreciate your feedback about our trainings. Please take just a few minutes to complete a brief survey by going here.
CLE / Conclusion
This Training has been approved for 1.3 hours of general online CLE credit by the West Virginia State Bar. To obtain CLE credit, you must complete and submit this form to LAWV: CLE CREDIT FORM
- LAWV will submit certification to the West Virginia State Bar.
- You will receive a certificate from LAWV and a confirmation email from the State Bar in approximately two weeks.
- If you have questions about the CLE credit, please contact Kate White at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-343-3013 ext. 2167.