Volunteer Attorneys for Rural Nevadans (VARN) incorporated in December 1996 with the stated purpose to provide pro bono legal services to the low-income residents of rural northern Nevada. VARN applied for and received 501(c)(3) tax exempt status in 1997. Since 1996, VARN’s Pro Bono Project has recruited a panel of over 100 private and public volunteer attorneys to provide free legal services to low-income residents in Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, Storey, Humboldt, Elko, and White Pine counties.
In 2000, and in collaboration with the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence (NNADV), the Domestic Violence Victim’s Assistance Project (DVVAP) was established. In 2001, DVVAP began providing free civil legal assistance to women and children living with domestic violence. DVVAP has grown significantly since 2001. DVVAP expanded VARN’s service area to all 15 rural Nevada counties, providing services in family law matters, child custody and support, paternity, divorce and guardianship.
In 2011, VARN expanded again by developing the Domestic Violence Rural Immigrant Integration Project (DVRIIP). In 2012, VARN attained Bureau of Immigration Appeals (BIA) site recognition and staff accreditation, making VARN the only agency in rural Nevada to have BIA site recognition and staff accreditation. This project provides legal services in family based immigration matters to undocumented victims of domestic violence seeking legal resident status in the United States through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Self-Petition and U-Visa processes.
Finally, VARN offers the Lawyer in the Lobby program twice a month and various clinics or legal aid fairs throughout the year.