The ARRL Volunteer Counsel Program
The Volunteer Counsel Program has several goals. It was developed to provide a better means of tracking and, when necessary, opposing local ordinances and statutes that might have a detrimental effect on the Amateur Radio Service and League members.
The second goal is to compile and maintain an up-to-date list of attorneys capable of representing amateurs involved in antenna or RFI disputes. Amateurs who need the services of an attorney in their area to deal with local opposition to their radio activities frequently call Headquarters. Because attorneys must be admitted to the state bar in order to practice law in a given state, we need Volunteer Counsels in each state. Unfortunately, the following states and territories are not currently represented in the VC program: Delaware, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont. Amateurs who are attorneys in these states are especially needed.
The League does not expect a Volunteer Counsel to represent an amateur free of charge. When HQ makes referrals, the point is made that VCs make their living practicing law and amateurs should not expect free or reduced cost legal representation unless it is at the discretion of the VC. Volunteer Counsels are asked, however, to provide an initial consultation gratis so that the amateur may knowledgeably decide what further steps to take.
VCs shall keep their ARRL Division Director apprised of any legal matter the VC is working on if it was a result of a referral through the VC Program.
VCs must be full ARRL members, and licensed amateurs. VCs must be admitted to the bar in the state for which they are listed. If you are interested in becoming involved in either program, please complete the application and mail it to the Regulatory Information Branch at ARRL Headquarters. Lists of the existing Volunteer Counsels are also available.
Volunteer Counsel Program Policy
ARRL Volunteer Counsel Program Policy
The purpose of the ARRL Volunteer Counsel Program is to make available to ARRL members a pool of lawyers who are Amateur Radio operators. As professionals, VCs work on a division level to assist amateurs regionally with a variety of regulatory and legal issues including local government zoning and covenant issues as well as legal issues surrounding interference problems. As professionals, VCs play an especially important part in division-level affairs by advising ARRL members in their area on complex legal issues as ARRL HQ is prohibited from doing so. The role of ARRL HQ is that of a clearinghouse for regulatory information which should be used by a qualified legal advisor when necessary. Unlike most appointees, VCs are appointed and approved by the Division Director as requested by ARRL HQ. In addition, because of the professional nature of their work, VCs may require fees for their advice. A list of VC’s nationally can be found at: http://www.arrl.org/locate-a-vc
An on-line application is available at: http://www.arrl.org/vc-application
Amateurs can access on-line regulatory material at http://www.arrl.org/regulatory-advocacy.
To be a Volunteer Counsel you must:
Be a reputable member of the Bar of at least one state;
Be an Amateur Radio operator;
Be a member of ARRL;
Provide an initial consultation to ARRL members at no cost;
Provide a profile for referral to ARRL members which will include the name, call sign, address, phone number, area of specialization and state(s) admitted to the Bar;
Notify the Regulatory Information Branch at HQ of contact information changes (many VCs prefer that office contact information is given out with referrals to amateurs while the QST mailing address remains at the home address);
Provide feedback to the Division Director and General Counsel on precedent-setting cases;
Attend ARRL sponsored regional legal seminars when possible;
Represent ARRL at Amateur Radio gatherings in a professional manner;
Be available for participation in the ARRL Alternative Dispute Resolution Program as requested by the General Counsel.
An Amateur Seeking Legal Advice:
Must be an ARRL member at the time assistance is provided;
Understand that free legal advice is not expected beyond the initial consultation;
Understand that ARRL holds no liability for the actions of VCs.