FAQs for Nonprofits

Who can become a client of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta?
Do you offer assistance to organizations applying for 501(c)(3) status?
What do I do if I need legal assistance?
What happens after my screening meeting?
What are Retainer Agreements?
How long does the process take?
What are my obligations as a client of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta?
How much will it cost?
How involved is Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta with this matter?

Who can become a client of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta?

We serve 501(c)(3) tax exempt, nonprofit organizations whose primary purpose is to assist low-income or disadvantaged individuals. The nonprofit organization must be unable to pay for legal services without significant impairment of its program resources.

If your organization does not fit the above criteria, click here for more resources.

Do you offer assistance to organizations applying for 501(c)(3) status?

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta does not currently assist organizations with the application for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

For resources on how to start a nonprofit organization in Georgia, click here.

What do I do if I need legal assistance?

The first step is to complete the Request for Legal Assistance form. Then, if your organization meets the initial requirements, we can set up a screening meeting with you and one of our attorneys. At the meeting, one of our attorneys will determine whether your organization is eligible for our services, and will identify any legal needs.

What happens after my screening meeting?

Once you are accepted as a client and your legal matters have been identified in your screening meeting, the following steps will be taken:

  • Your requested legal matters will be written up as Volunteer Opportunities for attorneys, which are usually sent to volunteers by e-mail at the beginning of the month.
  • You will be asked to sign and return a Retainer Agreement with Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta for your upcoming legal matters.
  • You will be notified via email when an attorney volunteers to assist with your legal matter(s). This email will contain contact information, which you should save for future reference.
  • We will then contact you to set up your initial call with the volunteer attorney and a Pro Bono Partnership attorney concerning the matter.

While we have a good success rate at finding volunteers, there is no guarantee that we will be able to find a volunteer to assist with your legal matter.

What are Retainer Agreements?

The Retainer Agreement describes the matter(s) for which your organization has requested legal assistance, the scope of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta’s assistance, and the client’s responsibilities to the attorney. This agreement will be sent to you for your signature if Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta agrees to assist your organization with legal matters.

Please make sure you read the document carefully, and sign and return it promptly. We cannot schedule your initial call until we have received the agreement.

The attorney assisting with your matter might require you to sign an additional agreement.

How long does the process take?

That depends. If you provide us with a detailed and complete request for legal assistance, your screening meeting can usually take place within two weeks of scheduling. Following the screening meeting and if you are accepted as a client, we will add your legal needs to our list of available opportunities. We generally send out our Volunteer Opportunities to attorneys at the beginning of each month. While most of our matters are matched within a month, some are more difficult to place. If your matter is matched with a volunteer attorney, the attorney will need to get approval from his/her firm before scheduling a call with you. The attorney then notifies us and we work to find a date and time that suits everyone’s schedule.

Please realize that the speed of your matter being matched with an attorney also depends on your organization’s ability to respond to e-mails, phone calls, and paperwork in a timely manner, and your flexibility in scheduling a call.

If your matter is urgent, please let us know why, and we will do what we can to expedite the process.

What are my obligations as a client of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta?

Our main request is that you are considerate of the attorney’s time. These attorneys graciously volunteer their time and efforts to assist nonprofits with their legal needs. They bill their time to paying clients at rates of at least several hundred dollars per hour.

General etiquette to keep in mind:

  • Respond to all calls and e-mails from volunteer attorneys and Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta staff in a timely manner.
  • Be flexible when scheduling a meeting.
  • Always factor enough time into your commute to a meeting for traffic, construction, parking, and other delays.
  • Arrive to a meeting about fifteen minutes early.
  • Send a thank you to the attorney once a matter is complete.

Other responsibilities as a client include:

  • Inform your Board of Directors that we providing pro bono legal services, and inform them of each specific pro bono matter,
  • Promptly sign and return all agreements from the Partnership and/or volunteer attorney(s),
  • Keep in contact with volunteer attorney(s) until the legal matter is completed,
  • Keep our staff updated on the progress of open legal matters by copying a staff member on all important emails (e.g. drafts of documents, final versions, email stating matter is complete, email informing attorney matter is on hold),
  • Ensure Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta is notified when a matter is completed,
  • Send a thank you note to volunteer attorney(s) following the completion of each matter, and
  • Make all requests for new legal matters through Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, not through individual volunteer attorney(s).

How much will it cost?

The legal services provided by Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta and the volunteer attorneys are free of charge. However, you may have to pay fees to third parties depending on your matter. For example, to file for a trademark you must pay a filing fee to the US Patent and Trademark Office.

How involved is Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta with this matter?

Our organization’s primary purpose is to link the nonprofits in need to the volunteer attorneys. The initial call usually includes the client, the volunteer attorney, and an attorney from Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. This call is meant to introduce everyone and create an understanding of the scope of the matter. After this call, it is the responsibility of the attorney and the client to communicate directly with one another. Please keep us updated on the progress of the matter, and inform us when the matter is complete.