Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project

What is the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project (MVLP)? This article answers that question. It provides information about how the organization works, who it serves, and what types of cases are handled by its attorneys. This article also discusses funding sources. Considering becoming a volunteer lawyer? There are many benefits to volunteer work! Let’s learn more. MVLP’s mission is to help people in need of legal assistance.


The Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project provides free legal clinics. The next one is on Friday, April 29, at 10 a.m., at the D’Iberville Rec Center. These clinics cover various legal issues, including uncontested divorce, power of attorney, simple wills, foreclosure prevention, and felony expungements. During the clinic, people can obtain free legal advice and court documents to prepare them for their representation in court.

MVLP represents clients in an uncontested divorce, removal of minority, guardianship, and name change, birth certificate correction, child support contempt, modification, conservatorship, and visitation. Lawyers from the program are volunteers from private practice bars. Volunteer attorneys assist people in civil court in Mississippi, where the neediest people often cannot afford attorneys. MVLP is a nonprofit organization and depends on volunteers to fulfill its mission.

Clients served by MVLP

The Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project (MVLP) is a nonprofit legal services organization that has served low-income residents of Mississippi for 35 years. The mission of the program is to ensure that all people, regardless of their means, have access to the courts. MVLP lawyers represent clients in civil cases and help them draft wills, advance healthcare directives, conservatorships, and other documents. Volunteer lawyers help clients with the same kinds of legal matters as other attorneys do: divorce, emancipation, guardianship, name change, birth certificate correction, conservatorship, and child support contempt.

In 2011, Brunini received the “Curtis E. Coker Access to Justice” award from the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project for his work representing individual indigent clients. He also contributed to the MVLP’s Pro Bono Manual and served as general counsel for two years. Throughout his time as general counsel, Brunini has continued to work on pro bono cases for low-income clients.

Cases handled by MVLP

The Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project (MVLP) pairs lawyers with low-income clients to provide legal representation for those in need. The organization has been in existence for 35 years. The volunteers are trained and matched with cases through referrals from Legal Services offices. Volunteer attorneys work for free and are recognized for their contributions through awards and public acknowledgments. The Volunteer Lawyers Project relies on the support and dedication of law firms, law students, and volunteers to ensure that the program continues to serve the community.

The Executive Director of MVLP is Gayla Carpenter-Sanders. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Tougaloo College and her law degree from the University of Florida School of Law. While completing her studies, she was a Virgil Hawkins Scholar and a member of the Black Law Students Association. During law school, she served as a litigation associate for a Jackson law firm. She was also a staff attorney for another nonprofit organization that focused on eliminating barriers to housing and employment.

Funding sources for MVLP

The Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project (MVLP) has worked to serve the state’s most underserved citizens for 35 years. Through its legal clinics and free clinics, attorneys have matched with low-income clients to provide legal services to those in need. Tammra Cascio, who earned her Juris doctorate at the University of Mississippi, is an attorney with the MVLP.

The Volunteer Lawyers Project partners with organizations such as the Mississippi Center for Legal Services and North Mississippi Rural Legal Services to provide free legal services to low-income residents of the state. The organizations then match these clients with private attorneys who are willing to perform pro bono work. The Volunteer Lawyers Project is looking for lawyers who are either law students, recent graduates, or lawyers who are between jobs. Currently, the project has 239 cases awaiting a volunteer lawyer.

The Volunteer Lawyers Project receives 1,250-2,000 calls a month. It has insufficient staff to properly screen cases. The organization has around 1,500 attorneys on its roster but only 200 actively volunteer. If the Volunteer Lawyers Project were able to complete a re-enrollment campaign, it would have updated the ranks of available attorneys. However, the request for re-enrollment was mailed a day before Katrina struck.

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