Recently, The Project was asked by the 24th Judicial District Court and the Louisiana Bar Foundation to manage the Self Help Resource Center (SHRC) at 24th JDC in Jefferson Parish. We need your help to man the SHRC and so we're reaching out to firms and solo practitioners to adopt a day, a week, or a month. Volunteer now!
Since taking on this project, we're seeing 10 to 20 clients at every Tuesday and Thursday morning from 10:00 am to noon at the Jefferson Courthouse in Gretna, 200 Derbigny Street, Room 2001. Parking is available in the adjacent garage and the Court comps you as a juror!
Volunteers at the SHRC help people fill out court-approved family law forms, like petitions for 103 divorces based on living separate and apart and custody petitions, and provides information about court procedures so the individuals can maneuver the system by themselves. The pleadings come with steps for the litigants to follow, although many of the clients are often unable to follow them accurately.
While there are no income guidelines for receiving help, the service is designed primarily for Jefferson Parish residents who don’t have the means to secure a private attorney, and who are not financially eligible for free services through public interest providers.
Volunteers provide legal information, not legal advice, so you don’t have to bea lawyer to volunteer. The clients sign forms stating that they are only receiving information and there is no attorney client relationship being established.
We’ve reached out to many of our partner firms already and gotten commitments to staff for a designated period, like the month of July (so 8 days, 2 hours each day). In the past, many of our volunteer attorneys were very active at the self-help desk at Orleans Civil District Court while The Project managed it.
It’s very rewarding work—the clients really need the help—and the time flies by. We’ll be providing training CLE in the coming weeks and will offer a periodic refresher course as needed by our volunteers.