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

  • 2 spot(s) Pro Se Litigant - Filing Clinic - October 11

  • 3 spot(s) Pro Se Litigant - Post-Filing Clinic - November 1

  • 3 spot(s) Pro Se Litigant - Filing Clinic - November 8

Email jchavez@vljnj.org, with interest. 

Consumer Law Program 

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

  • 2 spot(s) Consumer Clinic - October 16


Email ebalan@vljnj.org, with interest. 



Limited-scope, phone consult

SR and TR, and their two children, suffered significant damage to their primary home in 2012 during Superstorm Sandy. SR and TR were LMI grant recipients and in May 2017, the state issued them a mortgage forbearance certificate, which they submitted to their mortgage company. In February 2018, they received a letter from the DCA claiming their forbearance certificate was revoked. They immediately appealed the decision and the DCA's motion was ultimately denied by the hearing officer, but SR and TR are now scheduled for a pre-hearing conference with the OAL on Tuesday, October 30th. SR and TR are seeking a consultation with an attorney to help prepare for their pre-hearing conference.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org



File urgent name change application. Spanish-speaking client.

JR, a transwoman, is from El Salvador and seeking asylum. Prior to filing the asylum application, it is imperative that JR's legal name affirms her identity. JR seeks an attorney to assist her with a legal name change. JR already has an immigration attorney assisting with her asylum application.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org



Consultation to discuss legal rights regarding potential abuse of son.

DD is a 5-year-old Kindergartner who has been diagnosed with ADHD and a speech delay. In September 2018, he came home with a bruise in the shape of a handprint on his arm, as well as some bruises on his legs. Initially, DD refused to tell his parents, NS and BD, what happened, but he ultimately explained that he had hit another child on the playground, and his teacher had grabbed him in a rough manner. NS and BD reported the incident to the police, who are investigating. A few days later, DD reported that his teacher had called him “stupid” and an “asshole” and hit him. DD has been begging not to go to school anymore and having nightmares. NS and BD are seeking a consultation with an attorney about what her legal rights are.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org



Negotiation with district to obtain IEEs, new placement, and comp. ed. IEP meeting scheduled for October 17th.

DG is a 15-year-old who has been diagnosed with ADHD, Conduct Disorder, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. He has a history of disruptive behavior in school and has been treated by therapists for depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and school refusal. DG moved to a new school district in September 2016. For the 2016-17 school year, he was placed in a self-contained classroom for students with learning and language disabilities, but at the start of the 2017-18 school year, he was transferred to a general education classroom with pull out resource for Language Arts and Math. DG’s mother, SD, believes that her son’s behaviors worsened last year due to his increasing frustrations with the academic requirements of his general education placement. In May 2018, SD submitted a written request for DG to be transferred to a therapeutic school, but the district denied her request. In addition, the district’s triennial reevaluation in 2017 consisted solely of an educational evaluation and SD believes the evaluator only spent 15 minutes with DG.  SD is seeking independent evaluations, including a psychological, educational, psychiatric; placement in a therapeutic out-of-district school, if warranted, or alternatively a small high school in the district; and compensatory behavioral services.

To review, email tbermudez@vljnj.org



Advice only

DR needs further help determining eligibility for expungement. Volunteer attorney would gather further information for 2 out of 5 dispositions and assess client’s eligibility for expungement. If these two arrests do not bar him from expungement, client or attorney would obtain proof of fines paid and time served for the convictions on his record. Finally, if client is eligible, volunteer attorney would draft the petition for expungement.

To review, email ebalan@vljnj.org



Advice only

DD needs further assistance determining eligibility for expungement. Volunteer attorney would obtain disposition letters from the court and assess client’s eligibility for expungement. If client appears eligible, client or attorney would obtain proof of fines paid and time served for the convictions on his record and draft the petition for expungement.

To review, email ebalan@vljnj.org



Appeal of district’s HIB findings; negotiation with district to obtain reevaluation, IEP amendments, and comp. ed.

AC is a 13-year-old 7th-grader who has been diagnosed with ADHD, as well as Autism Spectrum Disorder and Tourette’s syndrome (though only the ADHD is documented in her IEP). AC has been bullied for years, particularly by one girl, and repeatedly called names like “ugly” and “retarded.” In January 2018, students on the bus pulled off the wig AC was wearing, video-recorded the incident, and posted the video on social media. In a separate incident, other students told AC to put lotion on her face, and when she did, laughed at her for having “ejaculated semen” on her face. AC’s mother, TA, reported both incidents, but neither was found to be HIB. TA requested a hearing before the BOE, and a date was scheduled in April. When TA arrived, she was unable to get into the building. The district claimed that she failed to appear and affirmed its findings. AC has also not had a reevaluation since 2012. In addition, her IEP does not include counseling or social skills instruction. TA filed a complaint with the Division on Civil Rights and is seeking representation at a Fact Finding Conference scheduled for October 11, 2018. She is also seeking a possible appeal of the district’s HIB findings, a thorough reevaluation of AC, compensatory educational services if warranted, and development of an IEP that addresses all of AC’s unique needs.

To review, email tbermudez@vljnj.org



Advice and negotiation regarding current litigation. Client speaks limited English.

JD is a senior with mobility issues. He has insurance through Medicaid. He had surgery last year. A bill from that surgery that went to collections and resulted in a Special Civil judgment against JD. Some of the JD’s assets were frozen in his bank account, which Consumer Law Clinic attorneys successful got released. The Special Civil case still remains with a judgment against JD. Attorneys at the clinic asked the Plaintiff’s counsel to drop the case because the client has limited income and Plaintiff’s counsel sounded amenable to the possibility but has yet to drop the case. A volunteer attorney could help JD to resolve the Superior Court case dismissed either through further outreach to Plaintiff’s counsel or outreach to Medicaid

To review, email ebalan@vljnj.org



Limited assistance navigating how to lift driver’s license suspension.

TW attended court and understood that Irvington Municipal Court had dismissed her outstanding parking tickets in the amount of $775 (and she believes she has proof to that effect), but the MVC says they will not lift the suspension because the tickets are still outstanding. She believes debt collectors are also seeking payment of $775. VLJ will request the MVC records for volunteer attorney’s review. Volunteer attorney would make phone calls to the MVC and Irvington Municipal Court to reconcile this discrepancy. There may have been a clerical error or the client may have misunderstood the judge’s order. If the latter, volunteer attorney would guide her in appropriate next steps to resolve suspension.

To review, email ebalan@vljnj.org



Negotiation with district to obtain new placement and counseling

JC is a 10-year-old student who just finished the 4th grade; he has been diagnosed with a learning disability and a speech and language impairment. JC has been bullied by other students (including physical abuse by one particular student) since February. In May, the bus driver informed JC’s mother, JH, that he observed JC kissing another boy on the bus. JC told his mother that he had been bullied into it, and also revealed another incident in which he was harassed into performing oral sex on another student on the school bus. JH immediately reported the incidents; the district filed a HIB report and informed DCPP. In June, the district found that the circumstances of the incident met the definition of HIB. JH is seeking another school for her son (which would not require him to take the bus) as well as counseling.

To review, email: tbermudez@vljnj.org



Assistance in obtaining new Section 8 voucher; possible defense against eviction proceeding (not yet filed)

SR, a single mother of four young children, has lived in an apartment for 2 years that she obtained through a Section 8 voucher, and has always paid her portion of the rent on time. In May, SR got into a fight with another tenant in the building, and the other tenant filed criminal charges. One of SR’s conditions of release was that she would not be able to return to the apartment building pending the outcome of her case. In July, SR was notified that Section 8 had ceased paying the remainder of her rent because she has been out of her apartment for more than 30 days. She was told that she could appeal the determination by requesting a hearing, but has not received any written notification with more information. In August, SR was told by her management company that, as a result of Section 8 having stopped paying the rent, SR will soon be evicted (though an eviction proceeding has not yet been initiated). SR’s goal is to find a new apartment with a new Section 8 voucher, and to avoid having an eviction on her record.

To review, email tbermudez@vljnj.org



Negotiation with district to obtain IEEs, comp. ed., and possible out-of-district placement

JR is a 13-year-old 7th-grader who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The district has not implemented his speech and language therapy since January because the therapist retired and has not been replaced. That same month, JR had a meltdown and threatened to hurt himself and another student. JR’s grandmother and guardian, GS, submitted letters from his doctor and then a psychiatrist, but he was still not allowed to return to school until GS complained to the district BOE. He was not provided any services during this time and his attendance records indicate that his absences were unexcused. At the time of the incident, JR’s 1:1 aide was out due to surgery and the district did not replace her. In May, JR was suspended for five days for striking a teacher after she grabbed him. GS is seeking independent evaluations, compensatory services, and either an appropriate out-of-district placement or at least implementation of an appropriate IEP.




Drafting estate planning documents

KP is a 43-yr-old, mother of 5, seeking to have a will, POA, and medical directives drafted. KP is been diagnosed with cancer and has begun treatment. At this point, KP would like to be prepared and has discussed her wishes with her older children and wants her decisions documented. KP has a few assets and about $2000 worth of medical and credit card debt.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org



Representation in Chapter 7

NP is a 56 year old woman who stopped working last year due to disability.  She has approximately $20,000 of dischargeable debt and is currently subsisting on public benefits while waiting for an SSA determination. She does not plan on returning to work due to her disability and needs a fresh start in order to make ends meet with her anticipated limited fixed income from Social Security.  She prefers a Spanish speaking attorney, if possible.

To review, email tbermudez@vljnj.org



Representation in Chapter 7

JG is 58 years old and he and his disabled adult son live together in Bergen County. JG suffered great financial loss when defending himself in protracted litigation; although that lawsuit concluded over ten years ago, he was unable to fully financially recover from that experience.  He then lost his job last summer.  Currently unemployed, he has nearly $200,000 of debt, as well as an outstanding mortgage on a home that is currently being foreclosed.   

To review, email tbermudez@vljnj.org




Assistance in relocating out of state with court’s consent; reinstating Section 8 voucher or securing new one; possible name change for client’s son

TC, a single mother of three young children, is a victim of domestic violence, both from her ex-husband as well as many of his family members. She fears for her safety and is seeking to move out of the state. TC needs help obtaining the court’s consent to relocate. TC managed to get a Section 8 voucher in Pennsylvania, but it expired in April and she was unable to get an extension. She is seeking assistance in getting her Pennsylvania voucher reinstated or else obtaining a voucher in another state. In addition, because TC’s son has her ex-husband’s last name, she is concerned that her ex-husband might be able to find him if she does move out of state. TC is also seeking a name change for her son if possible.




Full representation to draft and file expungement petition. Spanish speaking client. 

CA is seeking expungement of one assault conviction from 2002 for which he successfully completed a five year probationary term, and a dismissal from 2018. Successful expungement would result in a clear record. Client speaks Spanish only.




Negotiation and possible litigation

BS is 19 years old and has been largely independent since her mother suffered a stroke 3-4 years ago. Her mother has been unable to work and lives in a nursing home. BS applied to college and was accepted with a substantial financial aid award. The college later rescinded the award due to an inaccuracy in her FASFA regarding her mother. Once the college rescinded the award, BS could not continue to pay her tuition and she withdrew from the collge. The college is demanding unpaid tuition. Thus far, the college has refused to forgive the debt after several phone calls.