Note, if this will be your first time volunteering at a limited-scope legal clinic, we ask that you review the substantive training materials on VLJ's Volunteer Resources site, prior to the clinic date. 

You MUST email if you are interested in attending, so we can confirm with you that there are still in fact volunteer spots open. PLEASE DO NOT JUST SHOW UP. Thank you! 

Divorce Program 

All clinics take place in downtown Newark, NJ from 2 - 5pm

  • 3 spot(s) Pro Se Litigant - Filing Clinic - April 18

  • 4 spot(s) Pro Se Litigant - Filing Clinic - May 16

Email jchavez@vljnj.org, with interest. 

Consumer Law Program 

All clinics take place in downtown Newark, NJ from 9:30am - 12:30pm

  • 3 spot(s) Consumer Clinic - April 16

  • 3 spot(s) Consumer Clinic - May 7

Email jchavez@vljnj.org, with interest. 



Negotiation with district to obtain out-of-district placement and possible IEEs

NY is a 10-year-old 4th-grader who has been diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety disorder, ODD, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, sensory processing disorder, and PTSD. She suffers from emotional problems that are increasingly interfering with her education and which are not being addressed at school. She has begun refusing to go to school and responding aggressively when compelled to go. Her doctor recommended a therapeutic day school placement, but the district rejected this recommendation and claimed her emotional problems are only observed at home, even though she has been suspended for drawing sexual images on the walls, found to have engaged in bullying and harassment against peers, and described as angry and aggravated in her IEP by teachers. NY's mother, MD, is seeking a placement for her daughter at a therapeutic day school, and possibly additional IEEs.

To review, email jmoore@vljnj.org



Negotiation with district to obtain IEEs, appropriate placement, IEP amendments, and comp. ed.

JV is a 14-year-old 9th-grader who has been diagnosed with ADHD. His IEP places him in general education with in-class resource support for academic subjects. JV's grandmother and legal guardian, FN, recently learned that he is in danger of failing all his classes. JV's IEP does not refer to any evaluations and FN isn't aware that any have been done. His IEP also contains no goals or objectives. JV was recently diagnosed with autism, but FN does not believe any autism assessment was conducted, and JV's classification (Specific Learning Disability) and program did not change. FN is seeking appropriate IEEs, placement (either in- or out-of-district), transition services or supports, and goals and objectives in the IEP, as well as compensatory education.

To review, email jmoore@vljnj.org



Drafting and submitting expungement petition

SR is a 45-year-old veteran, and father of two, who seeks assistance with criminal expungement to secure employment. SR recently became eligible for expungement under the October 2018 New Jersey law change and requires representation in filing his petition.

To review, email ebalan@vljnj.org



Negotiation at IEP meeting; IHP; representation in retaliation action

KC is a 15-year-old 9th-grader who has cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, and asthma, which makes him prone to upper respiratory infections. He has significant developmental delays and is dependent on a feeding tube. For years, the school bus has picked KC up last in the morning due to a complex and time-consuming morning routine including use of a feeding pump and feeding tube. However, KC's pick-up schedule has recently changed; the district claims it will affect other students and the bus schedules are up to the transportation company. In addition, the district has failed to provide appropriate transition services to KC. His IEP is vague and not tailored to his postsecondary needs. KC's mother, KW, believes the district may be retaliating against her in response to past advocacy. KW is seeking representation at KC's annual review in June, as well as an Individualized Healthcare Plan providing KC is picked up last on the bus, an appropriate transition plan in his IEP, and relief from retaliation if warranted.

To review, email jmoore@vljnj.org



Negotiation at IEP meeting to obtain evaluations and out-of-district placement

KM is a 4-year-old preschool student who has been diagnosed with autism. His doctor recommended an intensive ABA-based program, but the district does not offer such a program and instead, in December, recommended a typical preschool disabled class. KM's mother, FM, was concerned that such a class would have poor behavior role models for her son and not otherwise meet his needs. She filed for mediation, and the district agreed to let her explore in-district options in April and May, and to reconvene the IEP team in June to decide placement for the 2019-20 school year. FM is seeking evaluations of KM and representation at the June IEP meeting to obtain an out-of-district program that offers ABA.

To review, email jmoore@vljnj.org



Representation at settlement conference to request OOD placement, additional services, IEEs, and possible comp ed.

DW is a 16-year-old 11th-grader who has been diagnosed with autism and has severe cognitive and communication deficits. He is currently in a self-contained class for students with moderate intellectual disabilities with an aide, receiving twice-weekly group speech-language (SL) services. His program and goals focus more on academics than skills or behavior; there is only one transition-related goal, and it involves simply making a list of jobs in the community. DW’s mother, NW, requested IEEs last year, but those that were completed were insufficient and lack recommendations. NW did obtain a private psychological evaluation which recommends an out-of-district autism school and emphasizes that DW needs more vocational/life skills training and SL and OT services. NW filed for due process and adjourned her April 4 settlement conference; she is waiting on a new date. She seeks an out-of-district placement for her son in a school for students with autism, OT and additional individual SL therapy, IEEs including an FBA, appropriate transition services, and compensatory education if warranted.

To review, email jmoore@vljnj.org



Advice and assistance working with hospital billing department

WM is an 82 year old veteran seeking assistance with a Medicare/collections issue. WM had a brief stay in a hospital and received a bill for his treatment. Medicare covered the cost, but he is still receiving collections notices from the hospital for additional services that were not rendered. A representative from Medicare told WM that the additional debt would be dismissed, but over a year later he is still receiving collections notices and the amount is still showing up in his credit report. Client seeks assistance in correcting this matter and having debt removed from his credit report.

To review, email ebalan@vljnj.org



Representation in lawsuit against furniture company; assistance in filing hardship application or contesting judgment regarding car repossession

In March 2018, AJ purchased $2,000 worth of furniture for her 7 children from a store; she paid in cash and was given a receipt. Despite numerous attempts to follow up with the owner, AJ never received the furniture. As a result, her children have been sleeping on the floor for a year. AJ is seeking an attorney who could file a complaint in Small Claims Court and attempt to recover the money she paid as well as possible treble damages if there has been a CFA violation. In a separate matter, AJ’s car was repossessed after her payments increased and she was no longer able to afford them. She owes approximately $7,000, and her wages are being garnished. She is seeking assistance in either filing a hardship application to reduce the garnishment or contesting the underlying judgment.

To review, email jmoore@vljnj.org



Removal from personal injury suit complaint ; April 20 (must respond to summons or face summary judgement)

JC is a veteran seeking assistance getting himself removed from a personal injury case. JC's grandson was involved in a car accident while driving JC's wife's vehicle. JC's wife is deceased, but did not leave the car to JC when she died. JC was erroneously identified as the owner of the vehicle and included in the personal injury suit against his grandson. He was served on March 23 with a summons and has 35 days to reply before he is at risk of summary judgement against him. JC has very limited funds and can barely pay rent. He needs immediate assistance in addressing the summons and being removed from the case.

To review, email ebalan@vljnj.org



Representation at the settlement conference and possibly at the due process hearing, if settlement cannot be reached. May 2, 2019 Settlement Conference . Parent is Spanish-speaking.

S.C. is a 6-year-old first grader who has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and mixed receptive-expressive language disorder. She becomes frustrated by her difficulty in communicating and engages in maladaptive behaviors. At an IEP meeting in December 2018 at which the parent was accompanied by a non-attorney advocate, the district proposed an IEP that had only group counseling once a month for 20 minutes and did not include an extended school year (ESY) program. The parent requested weekly social skills instruction/counseling and ESY, which SC had and benefitted from last year. The parent also requested independent evaluations at the district's expense in speech-language and a functional behavioral assessment. The district refused and the parent filed a petition for mediation-only on December 21st, thereby invoking stay-put. Mediation was unsuccessful, and at the end of it, the parent submitted a written request to convert the mediation-only petition to one for due process. The case was transmitted to the OAL for a settlement conference that was adjourned because the district's attorney was not available. The Settlement Conference is now scheduled for May 2, 2019. The parent is seeking representation at the Settlement Conference, and if the matter cannot be settled, at the due process hearing. The parent is Spanish-speaking only.

To review, email jmoore@vljnj.org



Negotiation with the school district to obtain out-of-district placement and representation at a due process hearing or mediation if the district continues to deny an out-of-district placement.

LHG is a 7-year-old boy who is in kindergarten. He has a diagnosis of autism, ADHD and behavioral issues. Throughout pre-k, LHG was in an ABA program through LEAP (he had an extra year in pre-k). However, coming into kindergarten, he started to have problems. The school district did not have an ABA program that was appropriate for him. He was placed in a general education class. Although there is an inclusion teacher that comes into the class, she only comes in a few times per week. The parent obtained an independent evaluation, which was completed at the end of January 2019. The evaluation recommends that LHG needs a specialized ABA program. The parent has recently submitted the report, but the district has not been willing to consider an out-of-district for LHG. The parent is seeking an out-of-district placement for LHG in a school with a specialized ABA program. There is no pending litigation, although the parent is interested in filing for mediation or due process if the district continues to deny an out-of-district placement.

To review, email jmoore@vljnj.org



Representation in pursuing relief as a victim of Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) through negotiation and filing an appeal of the BOE's finding or failure to find HIB to the Commissioner of Education. Parent is Spanish-speaking.

RA is a 5th grade student who has been bullied for two years and the district has failed to comply with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act; they failed to complete an investigation within 10 days of the parent reporting bullying, and if they did perform an investigation, they did not provide the parent with the requisite notice and opportunity to challenge a finding. Bullying has consisted of name-calling regarding RA's weight, writing disparaging things on the restroom walls, a threat to asphyxiate her with a plastic bag, and a false reporting that she had an e-cigarette in her backpack, which led to DCP&P investigation. The DCP&P has issued a letter that its investigation found no evidence that RA had e-cigarette or that she was neglected or mistreated at home. The parent met with the principal to discuss the incidents, but to date, the family has not received any response to their HIB report. The mother also sent emails to the district's Anti-Bullying Coordinator, but has not received a response. The parent is seeking representation in pursuing a finding that RA is a victim of acts of HIB and is entitled to relief as a result of the district's failure. The parent is Spanish-speaking.

To review, email jmoore@vljnj.org



Order of Emergent Relief directing the Vocational Technical School to return LH to school; Order directing the Vocational Technical School to provide LH with compensatory educational services and a Determination of the amount and type of services required; and Complete multi-disciplinary reevaluation of LH.

LH is a 9th grade special education student, who began high school at a Vocational Technical School District, after completing 8th grade in his home district. He has been out of school since December 2018 because the Vocational Technical School district improperly excluded LH from school without providing him with any educational services. The parent completed a form to convert the petition from mediation-only to one for a due process hearing. The parent is seeking representation in a due process proceeding that is already pending, possibly including filing for an order of emergent relief to get LH back in school.

To review, email jmoore@vljnj.org



Representation to ensure compliance with Harassment, Intimidation & Bullying (HIB) regulations.

NP is in 4th grade and was video-recorded by another student while using the toilet. That student showed the video recording to several other students during that school day and showed it to NP's sister during an after-school program. NP's mother reported the incident to the assistant principal the following day. While the assistant principal told NP's mother that the student who video-recorded NP had been suspended, the mother has never received any notices that the incident was considered Harassment, Intimidation & Bullying (HIB). The mother is concerned because the district does not seem to have done anything to ensure that the recording was secured. The principal told NP's mother that the district does not secure the recording because that would be promoting child pornography. Instead, the principal said that it was the responsibility of the parents of the student who made the recording to deal with the recording. The parent is seeking representation to ensure that the video-recording of NP has been destroyed and that incidents like this one do not occur again.

To review, email jmoore@vljnj.org



Full representation

AT is a 38-year-old, mother of four, seeking a criminal record expungement. VLJ has determined AT is eligible for expungement and her record includes only dismissals. AT seeks an attorney to prepare and file her expungement petition.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org




Advice and negotiation

JD, a senior veteran, seeks assistance with a withholding issue. JD's wife was a VA Medical Center Employee for many years. She died in 2018, leaving the client with very little income. JD struggles to pay basic expenses and to care for his young grandson, who lives him. JD's wife had significant back pay owed to her from the VA, to which JD is now entitled. After multiple attempts by JD to collect these funds, the VA has been unresponsive. JD seeks assistance in working with the VA to receive these back payments.

To review, email ebalan@vljnj.org



Special Civil trial date March 21, 2019

DC was in a car accident. She is being sued by an insurance company as a subrogee from seeking recovery for damages the company paid out to the individual in the car accident. After trying to put in a claim with her own insurance company, DC discovered she has only personal injury coverage, not liability and therefore DC’s claim was denied. DC said she has no assets and her only source of income is SS disability benefits. A special civil part trial is scheduled for March 21.

To review, email jchavez@vljnj.org



Full representation

LG is a victim of human trafficking seeking assistance with termination of parental rights and adoption. LG was trafficked by her former partner and father of her two children for many years, until he was finally sent to jail for domestic violence. The trafficker was very abusive to LG and their children. LG has since married another man who has helped her raise the children. LG's husband would like to pursue step parent adoption. The trafficker is set to be released from jail this fall and has been threatening to take the children back to his home country. She would like to terminate the trafficker's parental rights prior to his release and have her husband pursue adoption of her two children.

To review, email jchavez@vljnj.org



Representation to restore license

DS, a veteran, had his license erroneously suspended after he was mistakenly charged with illegally passing a school bus. While the underlying charges have been dismissed by the Municipal Court, DS's license was not restored. DS was then charged with driving on a suspended license and failure to pay fines associated with suspension. He seeks assistance in restoring his license and dismissing the surcharges that have resulted from the suspension and failure to pay fines.

To review, email ebalan@vljnj.org