Idaho Law Foundation: Recap of the 2024 Pro Bono Open House by Alaina F. McKee

by Alaina F. McKee

Pro bono organizations are still seeking your help as an attorney willing to volunteer your time for clients in need of legal assistance. According to Idaho Falls Lawyer, Alan Johnston, “Legal work is hard, it’s complex and it’s something that people can’t do on their own. To see the transition from when someone is in despair to when they feel grateful and feel like they have something to move forward with and feel secure, that gives me a good feeling.”[i]

Director of IVLP, Jennifer Schindele, emphasized the need for pro bono services in the community and explained how attorneys can help. Photo credit: Sunrise A. Ayers.

On February 22, 2024, a Pro Bono Open House was held in the Ada County Courthouse. Various pro bono organizations – Idaho Legal Aid, the Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program, the Women’s and Children’s Alliance Court Advocacy, Idaho Trial Lawyers Association, and the Idaho Military Legal Alliance – from around the Treasure Valley came together to provide information and express the value of volunteer attorneys engaging in pro bono opportunities.  Additionally, a free continuing legal education program was presented on minor guardianships by Judge Christopher M. Bieter.

The demand for pro bono legal services in Idaho is ongoing. Those of limited means often do not get the legal assistance they need because they cannot afford it. Thus, pro bono work is one of the most important parts of the legal profession, ensuring that even those of limited means have equal access to the legal system.

The pro bono organizations that attended the open house gave the attorneys who attended information regarding the individual organization’s mission and pro bono opportunities they can volunteer to help with.

CLE speaker, the Honorable Christopher Bieter, wrapped up his presentation by performing a song he wrote about minor guardianships. Photo credit: Sunrise A. Ayers.
Idaho Legal Aid Services

Idaho Legal Aid Services (“ILAS”) is dedicated to “providing equal access to justice for low-income people through quality advocacy and education.”[ii] While at the Pro Bono Open House, ILAS expressed the importance of helping those who are in need of justice but cannot afford to pay for legal services. They help those in need of legal assistance with problems including domestic violence, discrimination, sexual assault, protecting abused and neglected children, housing, and helping vulnerable seniors.

ILAS seeks volunteers to assist with helping the community. If you are an active or retired attorney, law or paralegal student, or a person from another field, you can call the Idaho Legal Aid office at (208) 746-7541 or visit their website[iii] for additional information regarding volunteer opportunities.

Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program

The Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program (“IVLP”) assists those who, “are low-income and need a lawyer for a civil matter.”[iv] During the Pro Bono Open House, IVLP expressed the need for volunteer attorneys. By relying on attorneys in the community, IVLP can provide free legal advice and counsel to those in need. IVLP offers the chance for clients to receive 30 minutes of free legal advice and counsel at legal clinics held in public libraries around the Treasure Valley and Coeur d’Alene.

IVLP offers opportunities for attorneys to volunteer to take on client’s cases and provide legal advice and counsel to clients in the legal clinics. IVLP offers volunteers opportunities with various commitment levels; you can choose to take on full representation of a client’s case or the chance to give advice and counsel at legal clinics. If you’re an attorney, you can browse the available pro bono opportunities on the Paladin website to see what matches your area of expertise and interest.

You can also find more information for opportunities and ways to volunteer on the IVLP website[v] or contact Jennifer Schindele at for additional information.

WCA Court Advocacy

The Women’s and Children’s Alliance (“WCA”) assists those who are “seeking relief through the legal system.”[vi] WCA provided information about their program during the Pro Bono Open House, WCA relies on Court Advocates who can provide pro se assistance and information. WCA also provides resources for various matters including divorce, custody, and protection orders for civil matters.

WCA seeks volunteers in the community who will provide one-on-one consultations for victims of domestic violence and sexual harassment. The volunteers will help clients prepare for legal proceedings and review paperwork. To learn more or sign up for a volunteer opportunity, you can visit their website.

Ada County Domestic Violence Court staff were participants in the Pro Bono Open House recruiting volunteers for civil protection order cases. Photo credit: Sunrise A. Ayers.
Idaho Trial Lawyers Association

The Idaho Trial Lawyers Association (“ITLA”) is “dedicated to the preservation of justice for all of the citizens of Idaho.”[vii] At the Pro Bono Open House, the ITLA expressed the importance of their mission and organization. By increasing citizens’ access to the court system and attorneys helping individuals within the system, the ITLA has the ability to seek justice for everyone. The ITLA holds Street Law Clinics to give individuals the chance to ask legal questions.

The ITLA works to build a community of trial lawyers through CLEs, practice specific groups, or a trial lawyer only listserv. You can learn more about their organization and opportunities to serve the community on their website.

Idaho Military Legal Alliance

The Idaho Military Legal Alliance (“IMLA”) has “worked to increase access to pro bono legal services for Idaho’s military population.”[viii] At the Pro Bono Open House, the IMLA discussed their organization’s four objectives,[ix]  which include (1) coordinating services of IMLA partners such as individuals from military, legal, and other organizations, (2) offering continuing legal education regarding military legal issues, (3) supporting military legal clinics throughout Idaho, and (4) recruiting pro bono attorneys that will provide help to Idaho’s military population.

The IMLA seeks volunteer attorneys and law students to meet the legal needs of military clients. You can find volunteer opportunities, which may include supporting military legal clinics throughout Idaho, on the Idaho Law Foundation website.

Consider Volunteering for Pro Bono Organizations

Pro bono work is a rewarding and valuable aspect of the legal field. Doing pro bono work will allow you to stretch beyond your area of expertise, giving you the chance to build your legal skills outside of your specific area of focus. Not only is pro bono work important for making a difference in the client’s life, but it also gives you the opportunity to gain a sense of fulfillment by making an important contribution to someone’s legal needs. Consider taking a few minutes to apply for a volunteer opportunity at a pro bono organization today and make a difference in the lives of low-income Idahoans by equalizing access to justice. You won’t regret it.

Alaina F. McKee

Alaina F. McKee is a Boise State undergraduate student studying criminal justice. Alaina is planning on attending law school after graduating from Boise State. In addition to academics, Alaina enjoys writing, spending time with friends and family, and exploring new hobbies.


[i] News Team, “Local Area Lawyers Recognize pro Bono Week in Idaho,” Local News 8, October 19, 2012,

[ii] “About Us,” Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc., April 16, 2012,

[iii] “Employment, Volunteer, and Internship Opportunities | Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc.,”, March 26, 2024,

[iv] “Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program,” Law Foundation, n.d.,

[v] “Pro Bono Opportunities for Idaho Attorneys,” Law Foundation,

[vi] “Court Advocacy,” WCA,

[vii] “AboutLanding,”,

[viii] “Idaho’s Military Legal Alliance,” Law Foundation, December 19, 2017,

[ix] “Idaho’s Military Legal Alliance Objectives,” Law Foundation, December 19, 2017,