Find Legal Aid
A Quick Overview of Pro Bono Services
Pro bono legal services are any services offered by an attorney or law firm free of charge to benefit the public or the public good. Pro bono legal services comprise of voluntary legal aid or legal assistance provided for no charge or at low or discounted fees to help the public. Voluntary legal assistance can be distinguished from any form of volunteerism by the fact that they are offered by legal professionals with the aim of helping those who cannot afford lawyers.
Voluntary Legal Representation Requirements For Legal Practitioners
There is a rising need for legal assistance among poor communities in America, and lawyers and attorneys understand that everyone, no matter what their socio-economic standing is, needs adequate access to skilled legal counsel and legal services, especially for those who cannot afford it. A study by the American Bar Association found that at least 40% of moderate and low income households face legal issues each year. The study further shows that legal assistance efforts address only 20% of the legal problems affecting these low income groups.
According to the American Bar Association Rule 6.1, lawyers should aspire to provide a minimum of 50 hours legal assistance in a year.
What Does Free Legal Aid Entail?
Voluntary legal representation is aimed at the poor or financially challenged individuals. Pro bono legal services also cover services offered to government as well as educational, religious, civic, and charitable organizations that are dedicated to helping the poor. Although pro bono is understood by many to mean legal assistance for free, it also covers those legal services that are provided at significantly lower rates. Lower rates charged help the attorney to address some unavoidable costs in any legal matter such as the expense of filing a claim and other similar expenses.
Voluntary legal assistance also applies when an attorney devotes time and effort to amending or improving the legal system or a particular law without expecting any compensation. Voluntary legal representation also involves contributing financial resources to firms that offer legal assistance at no fee to members of the community who cannot afford to pay attorneys.
How to Find Free Legal Aid
All local and state bar associations have voluntary legal counsel committees where attorneys have the chance to volunteer their time. Legal practitioners also have the opportunity of helping by joining legal counsel services that provide no-fee representation or representation at reduced costs for those who are incapable of paying for legal assistance. Many legal aid services vary depending on the fields of law they address. The American Bar Association’s Volunteer Project is known to provide help across diverse specialties including estate planning, bankruptcy, guardianship, adoption, and custody.
The Military Free Legal Services Project is dedicated to active duty service members. For details on national voluntary legal counsel opportunities, visit probono.net. Also, another resource to find attorneys in your area who can help you for free is justia.com.
While the American Bar Association requires lawyers to dedicate a minimum amount of their time to offering free legal assistance, there are legal associations and law firms that have extensive legal outreach branches and programs. These firms understand how important it is to provide legal services to the disenfranchised peoples of America, and will do everything in their power to make sure those who need legal assistance get legal assistance. One such organization is the ACLU. Their lawyers are dedicated to helping those who are wrongfully targeted by over reaching state and government laws that target race or sexual orientation. They are committed to providing top of the line legal representation to those that cannot afford quality legal services themselves.