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Volunteer Skills

LAC Volunteer Program FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Legal Assistance Center?

  • The LAC is a community nonprofit legal self-help center.
  • The LAC offers legal information, forms, resources, guidance, and referrals to peopleĀ  who are seeking to use the courts and solve legal problems without a lawyer.
  • The LAC does not give legal advice or provide legal representation.
  • The LAC helps primarily with family, housing, debt, guardianship, and basic probate.

Where is the LAC located?

  • The LAC is located on the 5th Floor of the Kent County Courthouse at 180 Ottawa Avenue NW, in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.

How do people get help at the LAC.

  • In-Person. The LAC is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9 am to 4 pm and on Wednesday from 9 am to 1 pm. No appointment is needed.
  • By Phone. Phone messages requesting assistance are returned as soon as possible.

Why volunteer at the LAC?

  • Learn About the Law and Courts
    Volunteering at the LAC gives you an opportunity to learn substantive law, court processes and procedures, and how courts work in the lives of ordinary people.
  • Provide an Essential Community Service
    Volunteering at the LAC give you an opportunity to help provide an essential community service, helping people solve basic legal problems on their own.
  • Get Job-Equivalent Legal Experience
    For students, volunteering at the LAC is job-equivalent legal experience that is a powerful asset when applying to law school, graduate school, or launching your career.
  • Work in a Vibrant Team Environment
    Volunteering at the LAC gives you an opportunity to work in a professional, vibrant, fun team environment.

Who may volunteer at the LAC?

  • You must be an adult to volunteer at the LAC.
  • Most LAC volunteers are undergraduate students in legal studies programs or aspiring to a career in law or public service, but the number of community volunteers is growing.

When can I begin volunteering?

  • The LAC accepts new volunteers three times each year, in January, May, and September.
  • See the current Volunteer Calendar for dates and deadlines.

What is the LAC volunteer commitment?

  • Two Consecutive Terms
    Volunteers must commit to serve for two consecutive volunteer terms. For example, volunteers beginning in January will volunteer at least through the end of August. Volunteers can continue for additional terms.
  • Two Shifts Per Week
    Volunteers are asked to serve to two shifts per week each term. Volunteers who serve two or more shifts per week are more successful and have a more rewarding volunteer experience.
  • Volunteer Shift Options
    • Morning shifts are from 8:30 am to 1 p on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.
    • Afternoon shifts are from 12:30 pm to 5 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday.
  • Volunteer Schedule Changes Each Term
    • The volunteer schedule changes each term to accommodate changes in class schedules and other commitments.

How do I apply to volunteer?

  • Complete and submit the online Volunteer Application by the Application Deadline before the volunteer term for which you would like to begin to serve.
  • Remember the Application is our first introduction to you. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation count.
  • Several questions that ask you to share why you would like to volunteer and about an experience that has shaped you. In addition to learning more about you, we look at these answers as writing samples.

What happens after I complete my Volunteer Application?

  • Volunteer Interview
    • We will reach out to you to schedule an interview.
    • We want to get to know you and see if you are a good fit for the LAC.
    • We want to make sure that you have an opportunity to learn more about the LAC, the work we do, and the volunteer experience.
    • Think of this as a job interview. Prepare and dress accordingly.
  • Offer and Scheduling
    • If you are offered a volunteer position, we will confirm your availability and add you to the schedule for the next term.
    • You will receive a preliminary schedule to approve, then a final schedule.

Is training provided?

  • All volunteers receive multi-layered, in-depth volunteer training.
  • Training begins with a required one-day orientation on the first day of the term.
  • Training continues during the first 5 weeks of volunteering including observation and integration and weekly lessons, assignments, and activities.

Are Internship opportunities available?

  • Yes. Legal studies students may serve their required academic internship at the LAC.
  • Other students may be able serve an internship for credit at the LAC.
  • Plan ahead. Students must volunteer for one term to be eligible to apply for an internship in their second or a later term.

Are Work Study opportunities available?

  • Yes. Davenport University students who are financial aid eligible can apply for a paid Work Study position at the LAC. Complete the LAC Volunteer Application and apply through DU Career Services.