Karnes Pro-Bono Project


Attorney Volunteer

A volunteer who is an individual attorney with an active license.


  1. Our greatest need is for Spanish speaking volunteers who are willing to serve detained families with a positive and adaptable attitude. If you speak only English, we ask that you bring an in-person interpreter.
  2. We staff the detention center Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM. The minimum volunteer commitment is Monday – Thursday. Please let me know if you are interested in staying Friday. *Sometimes depending on need, we do not staff Fridays.
  3. We now serve fathers and their sons. Often, the families are traumatized and may be untrusting at first. Volunteers must be able to quickly and effectively build a positive bond between themselves and the parent and child.
  4. You will have our team as a support system, but due to the high volume of clients we try to help, supervision is at a minimum.
  5. The environment at the detention center is unpredictable and fast paced. Adaptability and patience is everything in our work.
  6. Each session with a family ranges between 15 minutes – 2 hours. The word is fast paced because it is time sensitive. Volunteers must balance quantity and quality effectively.
  7. The detained setting creates barriers to access to counsel. At times, our team must “hurry up and wait” as we rely on the detention center staff to bring in families for urgent meetings.


Attorney tasks include but are not limited to:

  1. Intake.
  2. Credible Fear Interview and Reasonable Fear Interview prep.
  3. Release charla.
  4. Declaration drafting.
  5. Legal research.
  6. Drafting briefs and/or motions.
  7. Representing clients on behalf of RAICES


Volunteers must commit to a minimum timeframe of Monday – Thursday for any given week. Extending your stay to Friday is available, but optional.
Your reservation will be verified and confirmed to you via email by the Legal Pro Bono Coordinator between 1 – 3 business days.


Volunteers must pay their own expenses, such as flight, lodging, commute, meals, etc.
Approved volunteers will receive a travel guide to assist with planning, which will be found within the training materials.


Approved volunteer will receive the self-training modules to prepare for their time at Karnes.

  1. There are 5 training modules, which are self-paced and are easily accessible where there is internet connection.
    • Take the course on your computer at home, at work, the neighborhood coffee shop or on the go. You can start the course on one device and pick it up where you left off on another.
  2. There are high-quality videos to watch and 2 quizzes to take.
    • Volunteers may go back to review the modules and take any quiz again to raise your score.
  3. After having completed the modules and 2 quizzes, a conference call will be scheduled with the Legal Pro-Bono Coordinator.
    • The conference call is meant to be a discussion to highlight key points of the modules;
    • Resolve any questions or concerns;
    • And most importantly, a chance to meet each other in real time!