Legal Volunteer Opportunities

At Georgia Justice Project, we believe: a person is more than their arrest record; mass incarceration destroys communities of color; second chances help individuals, families and communities; and a better criminal justice system is possible. Every year, we consult with and represent hundreds of people across the state to help them overcome the barriers they have faced as a result of an encounter with the criminal legal system.  Volunteers are a critical part of helping to reach so many people.

The need is great: over half a million Georgia residents are incarcerated, more than 4 in 10 people released from prison return to prison within three years of their release, approximately 4.3 million people have a Georgia criminal history, and over 370,000 parents are under court order to pay child support in Georgia to support over 550,000 children. Volunteers are a crucial way we try to meet the needs of these directly impacted people.

Opportunities Include:

  • Criminal Records Program
    • Intake – initial assessment of criminal record and barriers
    • Clinic – direct representation on a criminal record issue
    • Summits – consulting at large scale record-restriction events
    • Appeals – research, writing and oral advocacy on appellate issues
  • Re-entry Lawyering for Clients at the Metro Atlanta Re-entry Facility
    • Child support – advocating for clients facing legal consequence due to inability to pay child support order
    • Detainers – advocating for the removal of detainers which would prevent timely release
    • Driver’s License Issues – assisting with re-instatement of driver’s licenses
  • Policy Advocacy
    • Research – data collection and analysis to support policy agenda

Limited Scope opportunities include:

  • Criminal Records Intake (2 hours)
    • Thursday mornings or the first Friday of the month, both in person and virtual
    • Meet with applicants and discuss their record and barriers
  • Record Restriction Summits (3-4 hours)
    • Occurring across the state
    • Meet with registrants and discuss their criminal record
    • Explain what was restricted at the event and what was not, and discuss any other available remedies
  • MRF Intake (2 hours)
    • The last Thursday of the month at 1:30 p.m.
    • Meet with Returning Citizens and gather facts about their case
  • Child Support Advocacy (3-10 hours)
    • Negotiating with Child Support Services agents or attorneys to reinstate drivers licenses, recalculate child support debt, and stop other debt punishments

Full Representation opportunities include:

  • Criminal Records Clinic
    • Occurs 2nd Friday morning of each month from 9-11AM, in person and virtual
    • Discuss with clients their criminal record, Georgia law and the barriers they have faced
    • Assist clients in filing Motions and Petitions to restrict and seal their criminal records, for Retroactive First Offender, or for record restriction and Pardons
  • Criminal Records Appeals
    • Occasionally, a GJP client will be denied an available remedy and the issue will be ripe for appeal
    • Conduct legal research and draft briefs
    • Argue in Superior Court, the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court of Georgia
  • Detainers for MRF Clients
    • Remove and resolve holds for criminal detainers (criminal defense experience required)
  • Suspended Driver’s Licenses for MRF Clients
    • Assist with reinstating suspended driver’s licenses through resolving failures to appear for traffic offenses
  • Child Support
    • Modify child support orders for non-custodial parents, to make child support obligations accurate and affordable for parents
    • Represent parents who are charged with Civil Contempt and threatened with jail because of their inability to pay child support debt
    • Assist parents with obtaining legitimation, visitation, and custody of their children (only for attorneys with a background in family law)

*time commitment for these opportunities will vary

Want to get involved? GJP offers CLEs several times a year that provide the training needed to represent clients. We also provide template documents, mentorship from experienced attorneys, and malpractice insurance. Contact Erin Donohue-Koehler at 404-827-0027 ext. 236 or to learn more.

These are our legal volunteer opportunities for licensed attorneys. If you are interested in our general volunteer opportunities, please click here.