Denver Bar Foundation

aka Metro Volunteer Lawyers   |   Denver, CO   |  www.metrovolunteerlawyers.org

Mission

Metro Volunteer Lawyers’ Mission is: ”To bridge the gap in access to justice by coordinating the provision of pro bono legal services by volunteer lawyers within the Denver Metro Area to people who could not otherwise afford legal services for their civil legal issues.”

Ruling year info

1990

Principal Officer

Charles Turner

Main address

1900 Grant St Ste 950

Denver, CO 80203 USA

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Formerly known as

Thursday Night Bar

EIN

74-2554415

NTEE code info

Legal Services (I80)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Metro Volunteer Lawyers

This year (2014) marks the 48th year of operations for MVL (formerly known as the Thursday Night Bar). A program of the Denver Bar Association, MVL is also supported by Colorado Legal Services (CLS); The Colorado Lawyer Trust Account Foundation (COLTAF); The Fred & Jean Allegretti Foundation; Lois Ann Rovira and additional private donations; The Denver Bar Foundation’s (DBF) Annual Barristers Benefit Ball; The DBF’s Henry Hall Memorial Golf Tournament; and the bar associations of the 1st Judicial District, Douglas/Elbert, Adams/Broomfield, and Arapahoe County.

MVL was started in 1966 by a group of young Denver Bar Association lawyers. They called it the “Thursday Night Bar Program” (TNB) because the founding volunteer attorneys met with clients each Thursday evening at Legal Aid offices in northwest Denver or in the Five Points neighborhood. They provided the help and advice they could in person on Thursday nights, then met the next morning to discuss the clients’ matters and assign themselves or other lawyers they recruited to carry on with the numerous matters that could not be completed during the Thursday night sessions. About twenty attorneys volunteered in the first year. The efforts of these original lawyer participants continued and strengthened a long tradition of volunteerism and public service by lawyers all across Colorado. TNB was renamed Metro Volunteer Lawyers in 1998 to reflect the program’s growth and expansion. MVL is now a department of the DBA which is a 501(c) 6 non-profit. The DBA’s Tax ID is 84-0389860. The DBA has formed a 501(c) 3 non-profit foundation - the DBF- and it can accept charitable tax deductible gifts on behalf of MVL. The DBF’s Tax ID is 74-2554415. To read an article in the October 2010 issue of the Docket about the history of TNB authored by some of those original "young lawyers" click here: http://bit.ly/TNBtoMVL. MVL is the singular pro bono program that provides civil legal services to financially-eligible applicants in eight Metro Denver Counties.

MVL serves people who are living at or below 125% (free legal services) - 150% (low-fee legal services) of federal poverty guidelines. Over 11% of Colorado’s population is financially eligible (earn less than 125% of poverty level) for free legal services from CLS or MVL. Here is a summary from the U.S. Census about poverty in MVL’s service area as of 2008: Douglas County: 3.1%; Broomfield County: 5.0%; Elbert County: 5.5%; Gilpin County: 6.2%; Jefferson County: 7.6%; Arapahoe County: 9.8%; Adams County: 12.0%; Denver County: 18.0%.

There are six programs within MVL to provide our clients with free and low-cost legal services: Direct Referrals to private attorneys for direct representation (Referrals), the Family Law Court Program (FLCP), the Post-Decree clinics, the Rovira Scholar, the legal clinic at the Denver Indian Center, and the clinical Adoption Program.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

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Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

MVL Goals are continuous and include the following:
• Maintain and enhance our current programs;
• Address the challenges that the increase in available volunteer attorneys and the increase in need for legal assistance pose for administration;
• Develop new fundraising tactics to address the current downturn in the economy and to increase our budget to increase our ability to serve more clients;
• Strengthen our recruitment and retention methods to maintain and develop our volunteer panel; and
• Collaborate with our partners to create and implement service delivery tools to address gaps in services.

Our staff has faced challenges head-on. Expanding our program, studying new ways to operate and to provide services has been an on-going and satisfying endeavor. We have also had the misfortune of being short-staffed at times, and to have to reorganize and re-delegate our duties over the past 6 months. We have learned that our team is flexible, supportive, and nimble. This challenge has also been an opportunity to review and formalize our operations and protocols to make re-delegation of tasks easy and efficient.

By working with our community partners to identify gaps in services and effective service delivery methods, we were able to develop and implement three additional programs this year (2012). In addition, we were able to recruit additional firms to sponsor and man our Post-Decree Clinic program. We look forward to having the Colorado Attorney General's Office as our latest sponsor firm (Fall 2013.) MVL successfully recruited 165 new volunteer attorneys to our existing panel. During 2012, we had 455 volunteer attorneys and 33 non-attorney (law-students, paralegals, etc.) handle 1448 cases and assist several clinical clients. These results assure us that our goals are being met.

In keeping with our project goals, MVL has recruited more pro bono attorneys, assisted 1488 clients in 2012, identified gaps and developed additional means to serve people in need of legal service. There are now six programs within MVL to provide our clients with free and low-cost legal services: Direct Referrals to individual attorneys for direct representation (Referral), the FLCP, the Post-Decree Clinics, the Rovira Scholar, the legal clinic at the Denver Indian Center, and the Clinical Adoption Program.

MVL collaborates with the Self-Represented Litigant coordinators in the 17, 2nd, 1st, and 18th Judicial Districts to coordinate resource referrals, provide more efficient and effective pro bono referrals, provide training to volunteer attorneys, occasionally provide liability insurance coverage for self-help center volunteers for special projects, and coordinate space usage at the courthouses.

Financials

Denver Bar Foundation
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Denver Bar Foundation

Board of directors
as of 06/07/2016
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jake Eisenstein