Volunteers are critical for the success of your Legal Support Team.
Here are some tips:
Think about how you plan to train volunteers and incorporate them into the office. Do recruitment and get them involved early on so that you’ll have enough people. Coordination/scheduling of volunteers is difficult, and should be done as much in advance as possible. The legal support office or tent can be hell, and people can get burned out quickly. Show your appreciation, let people take breaks, and vary their tasks.
A key part of protecting the safety of the Legal Support Team, the information retained by the Legal Support Team and the activists and movement you are supporting is making sure that all volunteers are clear about confidentiality and privacy issues. Make sure volunteers are clear about what information from meetings or other interactions is confidential and cannot be shared further and are aware of their responsibilities around this. It may help to ask volunteers to sign a volunteer agreement specifying their objections in relation to confidentiality and privacy. Again, supportive community legal centres may be prepared to consider volunteers with the legal Support Team as volunteers for their service and then using their volunteer privacy and confidentiality agreements for this purpose would be appropriate.
Be prepared to give trainings on Know Your Rights, Legal System 101, Legal and Video Observing, and Legal Solidarity (if you’re using it).
Also see Training for activists