Pro bono representation by volunteer attorneys
InMotion links low-income women with volunteer lawyers who want to donate their time and legal expertise to help and protect families living in New York City. Our volunteer attorneys provide free legal representation in New York City Family and Supreme Courts and before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
Pro bono—a simple definition
Pro bono, short for the Latin phrase pro bono publico, means for the public good. Lawyers serve the public good by volunteering to provide free legal representation to people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer.
Over 2,000 attorneys currently volunteer at inMotion. At any one time, our volunteer attorneys are actively working on over 900 matrimonial, family and immigration cases.
Who can get a pro bono lawyer?
In addition, to receive a pro bono lawyer, you must:
We try to give a pro bono lawyer to all women who ask for direct representation. Unfortunately, there are not enough volunteer attorneys to meet the tremendous need. Because of limited resources, we reserve pro bono attorneys for our clients who have especially complex cases and who we believe could not obtain the legal protections they seek without a lawyer.
- Be eligible for our legal services. Learn more
- Have a legal matter that fits within our matrimonial, family and immigration law areas of practice. Learn more
- Give us enough time to find a pro bono attorney for you. It takes time to place your case with a volunteer. If you contact us a few days before you need to appear in court, we will not be able to find a volunteer lawyer in time.
Not all legal matters require a lawyer
With inMotion’s help and guidance, many women can successfully represent themselves in court. For women who have very straight-forward cases, we provide free legal advice, information and brief services. Learn more
Types of cases inMotion can place with a pro bono attorney
- Uncontested divorces
- Contested divorces
- Orders of protection
- Child custody
- Child visitation
- Child support
- Spousal support or maintenance
- Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions for legal U.S. residency
How long does it take to get a pro bono lawyer?
There is often a wait list for pro bono representation. The time that it takes for us to place your case with a volunteer attorney can range from 2 weeks up to 6 or more months. Whether and how quickly we give you a volunteer attorney depends on the type of case you have, the urgency of your case and when a volunteer attorney is available to take your case.
Unfortunately, there are not enough volunteer attorneys to meet the tremendous need. Because of limited resources, we reserve pro bono attorneys for our clients who have especially complex cases and who we believe could not obtain the legal protections they seek without a lawyer.
What happens when you find a volunteer attorney to represent me?
When we find a volunteer lawyer to take your case, an inMotion staff person will contact you. You will be given the attorney’s name and the name of their law firm. The attorney will contact you directly to set up an appointment for you to meet with them in their office.
Social services support for our pro bono clients
We understand how difficult it is to focus on your legal case when your life is in crisis. InMotion clients who receive a pro bono attorney are eligible for social work support services. Our social work staff can provide assistance with food stamps, housing, Medicaid and other important benefits. They can also help you access counseling, mental health services, housing and child care. Domestic violence survivors can turn to our social work team for assistance with safety planning, counseling and locating a domestic violence shelter.
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