Volunteer at Legal Clinics
by Kenneth Barger
The King County Bar Association is in need of volunteer interpreters in its Neighborhood Legal Clinics program. This program serves the community by offering free half-hour consultations with an attorney. There are 25 legal clinics in King County; some are general clinics, others specialize in an area such as family law, elder law, debt, and so forth.
Iíve been volunteering in the Bilingual Spanish Clinic and the Immigration Clinic for about four years. These two clinics are held simultaneously in a church near Capitol Hill. Itís gratifying to serve the community in this way, but the benefit is far from one-sided. I always bring my business cards and give them to the volunteer attorneys, and I have gotten plenty of paid work as a result.
Another enormous benefit Iíve gotten from my work at the clinics is the exposure to diverse types of legal matters. My regular work is dominated by criminal matters, but the clinics serve folks with all types of concerns in many areas of law. This has helped me to expand my vocabulary in areas I donít have much contact with from day to day.
I would encourage any court interpreter in or near King County to consider lending his or her talents to this worthy program. My experience there has been rewarding in many ways.
Court certification is preferred, but not a requirement. Interpreters must have experience in legal terminology. The greatest demand is for Spanish interpreters, especially in the Downtown, Kent, and Federal Way clinics. The need for other languages is sporadic, but it does exist; there is some volume in Cantonese, Mandarin, and Russian, among others.
For more information or to offer your services, contact Victoria Cherniak at the King County Bar Associationís Homeless and Newcomers Project. Victoria can be reached at (206) 267-7027 or VictoriaC@kcba.org. See you at the clinics!
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