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

  • 4 spot(s) Pro Se Litigant - Filing Clinic - October 17

  • 4 spot(s) Pro Se Litigant - Filing Clinic - November 21

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 - November 5

Email anolan@vljnj.org, with interest. 



Representation in settlement conference to obtain IEEs and possible OOD placement

KA is a 14-year-old 8th-grader who has been diagnosed with ADHD, autism, a learning disability, and PTSD. KA has not been progressing academically, but the district has repeatedly failed to consider recommendations from evaluations or to provide him with sufficient reading support. In March 2019, KA began exhibiting school refusal and anxiety. He later revealed that he had been sexually assaulted several times on school grounds by another student. KA began exhibiting aggressive and sexually inappropriate behaviors. His therapist and psychiatrist both advised KA’s mother, MA, not to send him back to school. The district agreed to place KA on home instruction, but only until the end of the school year. In May, the district filed a due process petition, seeking consent to reevaluate KA. MA consented and several evaluations were done over the summer, but MA has not yet seen the reports. In June, MA filed her own request for a due process hearing, requesting a therapeutic out-of-district placement for KA. The district has refused to provide home instruction beginning this school year. MA is seeking representation at a settlement conference (not yet scheduled) to obtain independent evaluations, an appropriate out-of-district placement for her son, or if not, a transition plan to gradually ease KA back into school and assurances that he will be kept safe.

To review, email jmoore@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. The district finally agreed to speak with KC’s pediatrician, with KW’s consent, to verify his medical needs, but KW has not heard back from anyone since she signed the consent form over a month ago. KW is seeking to ensure that the district will either pick KC up last on the bus or provide him with his own transportation.

To review, email jmoore@vljnj.org




Negotiation with school district to obtain a change in placement, additional services in 504

TP is a 13-year-old 7th-grader who has a 504 plan. In December 2018, she was assaulted by another student in school and sustained a concussion. Following the incident, she was also cyberbullied. TP is now afraid to return to school because the student who assaulted her is still there, and has consequently been on home instruction since the incident occurred. The district refuses to consider an alternative placement for her and wants her to return to school before the end of the school year. TP’s pediatrician is not recommending that she return. TP’s mother, SP, is seeking help in advocating for a change in placement and any other services TP may require to ensure a safe return to school.

To review, email jmoore@vljnj.org



Representation in warrant clearing for survivor of human trafficking

SJ seeks assistance with resolving two open prostitution charges from 2002 that occurred as a result of human trafficking. Due to nonappearance in court, there are bench warrants from Elizabeth Municipal Court.  In addition to vacating the bench warrants, there are persuasive arguments to dismiss the underlying charges. First, due to the age since the matters are over ten years old. Second, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:34-1(e), it is an affirmative defense to a charge of prostitution if the defendant was the victim of human trafficking at the time of the alleged offense.   If the matters are dismissed, client could simultaneously apply for an automatic expungement. An expungement would leave her with a clear New Jersey criminal record.  Client lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. 

To review, email jchavez@vljnj.org



Representation in Small Claims lawsuit

NS, a young single mother, paid an acquaintance $2,000 in cash in exchange for a car. She has text messages between her and the man, and proof of having taken out the cash from a credit union, but she did not receive a receipt or sign an agreement. The man never delivered her car and has made excuses for the delay every time she contacts him. NS sent a certified letter asking for her money back, but the man called her and said he didn’t have it. NS is seeking assistance in filing a lawsuit in Small Claims court to recover the money she paid.

 To review, email jmoore@vljnj.org



Negotiate with opposing party and draft motion for change of divorce order

BM is a disabled veteran seeking assistance with a post-judgment divorce matter. BM signed a divorce settlement while was recovering from cancer surgery and starting chemotherapy, which affected his ability to think clearly. His ex-wife was represented by counsel and he was not. He agreed to pay substantial alimony indefinitely and to give part of his pension to his ex-wife. He is now remarried with a new child and struggling to make the alimony payments and to meet the other obligations in the settlement. He wants to challenge the original order based on mental incompetency and/or amend the alimony order based on his changed circumstances.

To review, email kgarcia@vljnj.org



Representation at mediation, scheduled for October 15, to maintain OOD placement

LL is a 12-year-old 7th-grader who has been diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth Syndrome, an extremely rare genetic disorder with many severe symptoms, including intellectual disability, language problems, hearing loss, eating issues, and growth problems. His mother, JL, fought to have him placed in an out-of-district placement. The district now claims LL is not making adequate progress academically, but JL believes he is. The district also claims that LL has been excessively absent and tardy, but this is due to his medical issues. The district has proposed an in-district program for LL to address these concerns. JL filed for due process to invoke stay put. JL is seeking an attorney to represent her at mediation (scheduled for October 29) or due process if necessary to help keep LL in his current placement.

To review, email jmoore@vljnj.org



Negotiation with district to obtain OOD placement, comp. ed., and possible damages

JC is a 13-year-old 8th-grader who has been diagnosed with OCD and Tourette’s. He has attended an out-of-district placement since the 5th grade. During the heavy snowstorm on November 15, 2018, JC eloped from the school bus while it was stuck in traffic and was not found until 9:00 PM that night, four miles away. Following the incident, JC became extremely distressed and began engaging in self-injurious behavior; he has also refused to ride the bus again. JC’s mother, NH, sought help from the Child Study Team to get JC to school, but they refused to provide JC with any support. NH also requested a psychiatric evaluation, but the report was not translated into NH’s native language, Spanish, so she was not able to understand it. An IEP generated following the report contains no mention of either the bus incident or the psychiatric evaluation. NH is seeking a different out-of-district placement that does not require such a long bus ride, compensatory educational and/or counseling services if warranted, and possible compensatory damages for any viable tort action arising out of the bus elopement issue.

To review, email jmoore@vljnj.org




A fire forced D.B. to leave her apartment. She has tried to get her former landlord to return her security deposit now that she has been displaced. She would representation to file a law suit to return the security deposit with double damages as allowed by statute.

To review, email jchavez@vljnj.org




Representation in criminal record clearing for survivor of human trafficking

MP seeks to expunge a 2004 disorderly persons shoplifting conviction. Fines were satisfied in 2004. Although community service was vacated later in 2017, the waiting period for purposes of expungement is arguably satisfied as only “date of most recent conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or release from incarceration, whichever is later” is specified in the statute. Expungement will result in a clear record and will be helpful for immigration purposes including her T-visa application.

To review, email jchavez@vljnj.org



Prepare and file motion for removal of guardianship

HW is a veteran seeking assistance removing state guardianship. HW was assigned a state-appointed guardian when he fell into a coma last year. He is now recovered and living independently. However, because the guardian still has control of his finances, he has struggled to handle his own affairs. He seeks assistance drafting a motion to remove the state's guardianship. VLJ has already contacted the Office of the State Guardian, who has indicated that they will not contest the removal. HW needs assistance preparing and submitting the motion to remove guardianship with the Passaic Surrogate Court.

To review, email kgarcia@vljnj.org



August 30 court appearance with reply brief due August 22

Client GC and her husband obtained a divorce from bed and board in 2015, which divided the assets, gave GC alimony for a limited term, and importantly, enabled the husband to continue health insurance coverage for GC through his employer. GC learned in May 2019 that her health insurance was terminated, causing her to incur more medical bills. She moved to increase her alimony and her spouse filed a cross motion seeking to obtain an absolute divorce, vacate the limited divorce order on the basis of “mistake,” and to modify the terms of the marital settlement agreement, alleging that the court mistakenly believed that he could continue to provide health insurance coverage by obtaining a divorce from bed and board. GC’s spouse is represented by counsel and the hearing for both motions is scheduled for August 30.

To review, email jchavez@vljnj.org



September court date

GT divorced her ex-spouse in 2017 and the court entered a child/spousal support order. The ex-spouse retired earlier this year and has now filed a motion seeking a downward modification of that order based on his retirement and other changes. Ex-spouse is represented by counsel and GT would greatly benefit from also having counsel in order to level the playing field. GT does communicate in English but prefers French Creole, if possible.

To review, email jchavez@vljnj.org



Negotiation with district to address HIB, obtain transportation and ESY, and amend IEP

JJ is a 12-year-old 6th-grader who has been diagnosed with ADHD. Since October 2018, he has been bullied because of his race and his disability by one particular student in the class. JJ’s mother, DH, has reported three incidents to the principal, but nothing has been done. In addition, the district has refused to provide transportation to JJ, despite the fact that DH provided a doctor’s note indicating that JJ’s asthma is exacerbated by having to walk to school in temperatures below 40 and above 80 degrees. The district also refused to provide JJ with ESY, instead recommending that DH send him to an expensive recreation camp. DH is seeking representation to address the bullying issues, obtain transportation and ESY for her son, and amend his IEP as appropriate.

To review, email jmoore@vljnj.org




Negotiation with school district to obtain appropriate behavioral supports

TG is an 11-year-old 6th-grader who has been diagnosed with ADHD and has behavioral issues. He is placed in an out-of-district placement. There have been two incidents recently in which TG has been improperly restrained, one on the bus with an aide and the other in school in which a security guard grabbed the back of TG’s neck. Both incidents were captured on video but the school denied the request of TG’s mother, SO, to see the videos. SO believes the school does not have a good plan in place to help TG deescalate. She is seeking assistance in ensuring that her son is provided with appropriate behavioral supports.

To review, email jmoore@vljnj.org



Addressing fraudulent debt and stopping creditor harassment

PP is a veteran seeking assistance with an ID theft matter. While PP was serving overseas in the Navy, his ID was stolen and purchases were made in his name without his authorization. When he returned home to the US, PP started to receive harassing calls from creditors for thousands of dollars of debt for purchases he did not make. He is seeking assistance in disputing the fraudulent debts and stopping the creditor harassment.

To review, email jchavez@vljnj.org


new york - sdny - Bankruptcy

There will be a filing deadline once debtor objects to client's proof of claim.

AA, a resident of New Jersey, was a defendant in a mortgage foreclosure action venued in Ocean County, New Jersey. With the assistance of a pro bono attorney, she had filed an answer and counterclaim but in 2018, the court struck the answer and dismissed the counterclaim, stating on the record that the counterclaim could be filed in the Law Division. Before she could file the claim in the Law Division, the mortgagee filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in the SDNY Bankruptcy Court in February 2019. Again, with the assistance of pro bono counsel, she filed a proof of claim in March 2019. Her pro bono attorney is unable to continue representation and AA needs an attorney to continue representing her interests if and when the debtor objects to the proof of claim.

To review, email donuschak@vljnj.org



Negotiation with district to obtain out-of-district placement

LB is a 9-year-old 3rd-grader who has a number of diagnoses including autism, anxiety, severe reflux, emotional-behavioral challenges, asthma, severe allergies, cardiac issues, Ehlers Danlos syndrome, dysautonomia, and partial facial paralysis. He is frequently hospitalized for gastrointestinal and other issues. He uses an adaptive stroller and an invasive feeding tube at all times, and his IEP provides for a one-to-one aide and one-to-one nurse at school and on the bus. LB’s mother, SB, does not believe an in-district placement can meet her son’s needs. He has not received any home instruction or services since March 2019, when he was hospitalized for a broken feeding tube. On October 1, the district filed for emergent relief seeking an order compelling SB to release LB’s medical information to the district by any current or prospective treating provider. SB is seeking an attorney to represent her in the emergent relief action and to advocate for out-of-district placement which meets LB’s medical, developmental, educational, behavioral, and other needs.

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