Pro Bono Attorney Guide

Legal representation in the American justice system should not be dictated by wealth.  All too often people cannot retain qualified legal representation because they lack the funds to pay for a top lawyer in the field.


If you have a legal dispute that you need representation for, finding an attorney to take your case on a pro bono basis may be your best option. While not every case will qualify to receive pro bono legal representation, seeking pro bono services is often the best way to get the legal representation you need.

Attorneys often volunteer their services pro bono or at a drastically reduced cost to help underprivileged and disenfranchised citizens get legal representation.  This volunteerism helps individuals who can't manage the usual cost of legal counselors' services. One way to find a pro bono representative is researching lawyers in your area.  Most lawyers or legal associations will have websites where you can get immediate info about the attorney and what legal assistance they may be able to offer you, and at what cost. With this finder, you can get help deciding the right lawyer for your case type.


How Can Pro Bono Services Help Me?

Lawyers typically specialize in one specific area of law.  When an attorney offers their services pro bono, they bring all their expertise and dedication to your case for a reduced or free cost. In addition to individual initiatives, local bar organizations, as well as state bar associations, provide pro bono committees through which lawyers volunteer for pro bono work. These associations will still keep the attorney's specializations in mind. For example, attorneys who specialize in personal injury law will be selected to handle compensation damage claims cases. The ABA's Volunteer Legal Project has opportunities for pro bono volunteerism.

The military pro bono assistance is for active duty officers. A case can get to a pro bono lawyer if the client is below the federal poverty level income of $24,000 for a four-member family. Generally, pro bono cases cover all cases provided, and there is no expectation of compensation.

What Services Are Offered?

Legal aid refers to work that has been screened and referred by a competent legal service provider. Furthermore, pro bono representation does not always mean direct, full representation, or court appearances. An attorney engaging in legal aid may simply do legal research, or draft pleadings, or offer legal council and guide you to finding the right attorney for the case. Some attorneys may offer full representation or commit to part of the proceedings.  In these instances the attorney will usually offer their services for a portion of the winnings, should they win the case for you, or for no fee should the case be ruled against you.

Benefits from Pro Bono Services

Recieving legal aid from skilled legal professionals assists marginalized and minority communities. Disadvantaged citizens include the elderly, children, low-income earners, and unemployed people. In the United States, pro bono lawyers websites, such as the American Bar Association (ABA) and Pro Bono Texas, can help to link people lacking legal fees with the lawyers who provide free legal advice or services. It is never recomended to try and represent one's own case in a court of law.  Pro bono services ensure you have a skilled legal representative at your side, from the initial legal advice before a case, to in person representation in a court of law. Pro bono services can ensure you get competent legal advice and assistance and avoid making your case worse for yourself by blundering through the convoluted legal system.

Types of Pro Bono Legal Areas

Attorneys may choose to participate in pro bono services at their own discretion. It is highly recommended by the justice system and/or their legal firm to take on pro bono cases simply to give back to the less fortunate while gaining valuable experience. Some areas where attorneys are more likely to offer such services are:

  • Bankruptcy
  • Child Custody
  • Divorce
  • Domestic Violence
  • Housing
  • Immigration
  • Unemployment Cases

How Do I Qualify for Pro Bono Assistance?

The American Bar Association estimates that citizens requiring pro bono services, generally those with low and moderate-wages, make up about 40 percent of U.S. family units. Yet just 20 percent of the general population requiring pro-bono legal assistance seeks legal aid from a qualified attorney. If you or your loved ones are worried that you cannot recieve legal representation because of your financial situation you should start searching for a local attorney offering pro bono services as soon as possible.