Open Hands is looking for attorneys, paralegals, law students, and other individuals who are interested in volunteering in our legal aid ministry. Open Hands volunteers provide free legal counseling and representation to homeless and low-income New Yorkers on a variety of legal issues.
Open Hands currently serves clients of the soup kitchen and food pantry at the Father’s Heart Ministries in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, New Life Community Development Center, Elmhurst, Queens, The Bowery Mission, Manhattan, and All Angels’ Church – Our Place Cafe on the Upper West Side.
The Father’s Heart Ministries legal aid desk operates every 2nd Saturday of the month from 8:45 am–12:30 pm. The New Life Legal Aid Desk operates every 1st Tuesday of the month from 5:30-8:30 p.m. The All Angels’ Church – Our Place Cafe and The Bowery Mission legal aid desk operate on a quarterly basis. Visit our calendar for the most up to date information.
SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES FOR LAWYERS AND LAW STUDENTS
Monthly legal aid desk: Open Hands volunteers conduct intake interviews with homeless and low-income New Yorkers at community-based organizations. Our volunteers provide appropriate advice, referrals and when appropriate, follow-up and representation relating to a variety of legal issues, such as housing and public benefits law.
No specific legal expertise is required to serve at the monthly legal aid desk. All volunteers participate in a training session prior to volunteering at the legal aid desk. Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit is provided at each training. For a schedule of the trainings, click here.
Volunteers receive case counseling assistance from the Open Hands Executive Director and submit periodic written reports to the Executive Director regarding the status of their case. In addition to providing legal counseling, Open Hands volunteers also address the spiritual needs of our neighbors and clients by praying with and for them.
Volunteer attorneys must be members of the New York State Bar. Open Hands welcomes law student volunteers, but law student volunteers must be paired with a volunteer attorney licensed to practice law in New York State. Click here to register as volunteer at our monthly clinics.
On-call advisors: Open Hands needs volunteers with subject matter specialization in specific areas of law who can be present at or reachable by phone during legal aid desk sessions to guide volunteer attorneys on specific issues. Click here to volunteer with Open Hands as a subject matter advisor.
SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES FOR EVERYONE
Interpreters: Open Hands needs volunteers who can interpret for our non-English-speaking clients during our legal aid desk sessions. The most needed language skills are Cantonese and Spanish. To volunteer as an interpreter, click here.
On-Site Prayer Ministry: Open Hands volunteers join with other volunteers at the Father’s Heart Ministries to pray with the guests at the soup kitchen during their breakfast meal. The prayer ministry is not only an opportunity for us to provide spiritual encouragement, but also allows us to get to know our clients and their issues, and encourage them to come speak to us at the legal aid desk. To volunteer for the on-site prayer ministry, click here.
Prayer Call: Open Hands depends on the power of prayer. Every other Wednesday, from 12:30 p.m. to 12:45 p.m., Open Hands supporters come together over the phone to pray for Open Hands’ ministry to the poor and indigent. If you would like to be part of our prayer ministry and participate in our bi-weekly prayer calls, please click here.
To volunteer with Open Hands Legal Services, click here.
For more information on volunteering, contact Sandy Stefanski, Program Coordinator at email@example.com.