Pro bono volunteers needed for large backlog of appeals of benefit denials

Join us Thursday June 16, 12 to 2:30, to train as a pro bono volunteer attorney for the Unemployment Law Project. Email Anne Paxton to learn more »

To all Washington attorneys:

Interested in a volunteer opportunity that provides litigation experience, lets you use your skills to help jobless workers, and gives you two CLE credits? If the answer is yes, we invite you to an upcoming training for pro bono volunteers of the Unemployment Law Project.

This two-hour session by Zoom—scheduled for Thursday, June 16, from 12:00 noon to 2:30 p.m.—will provide you with the basics of unemployment law and the hearing process and brief you on how to represent a client who is appealing a denial of unemployment benefits. The training is useful for new attorneys and for attorneys experienced in unemployment law and/or hearings who wish to have a refresher.

Following this session, we normally ask new volunteers to observe a couple of hearings by our staff attorneys to become familiar with the process; then you would be ready to take a case of your own. We can provide any assistance you would like as you develop your arguments and prepare the claimant for the hearing. (These are administrative hearings and average time to prepare for and participate in one of them is about 5 or 6 hours.)

During the COVID-19 crisis, Washington’s unemployment program paid benefits to hundreds of thousands of claimants. At the same time, however, tens of thousands of claimants were denied benefits and filed an appeal. With the backlog of cases, thousands of those appeals have yet to be resolved.

The Unemployment Law Project (ULP) is a primary resource for these claimants. But even though our staff attorneys have taken on increased caseloads, we must turn some appellants away. Volunteers to assist us with hearings are essential to meet the need. It’s fulfilling work, and there is a side-benefit: Pro bono volunteers receive one hour of CLE credit for each hour, up to 24 hours, they provide legal services through ULP, which is a Qualified Legal Service Provider.

To participate in our pro bono program, please contact ULP policy director Anne Paxton at apaxton@ulproject.orgWe would love for you to sign up for the June 16 training.

** For potential volunteers with conflicts, we also have pre-recorded options and can fill you in on how to watch them; however, many volunteers prefer the live training because of the opportunity to ask questions on the spot.

Thank you for your willingness to provide your legal expertise. Your help has never been more needed.


Anne Paxton
Staff Attorney & Policy Director

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