Pro Bono Service

When you are involved in a legal issue that requires to appear in court or up against another individual, finding a lawyer can quickly become overwhelming. However, legal assistance is usually costly. For clients who are unable to afford the legal services, pro bono will be an ideal choice.

What Is Pro Bono?

The term "pro bono," coined from Latin phrase "pro bono publico," means "for the benefit of the public." It is generally used to describe a lawyer offering free legal services. Pro bono can cover all cases provided without expectation of compensation. Seeking a pro bono attorney is one way to get the legal support you need without overspending or spending at all in some cases.

Benefits And Defects Of Pro Bono

To those who seek legal aid from pro bono, some of the benefits are:

1. Getting professional backing and assistance in cases where one battles with individuals or corporations who have financial resources

2. Getting justice and equality where one would be forced to settle due to the lack of legal representation

3. Saving legal fees

However, pro bono service is not flawless. Some of its defects include:

1. Pro bono assistance does not always mean full court representation or appearances (Pro bono attorneys may simply do legal research, draft pleadings, or just commit to part of the proceedings in your legal battle)

2. Only 20% of low and moderate income individuals can get pro bono help with their legal problems (because it is challenging for legal professionals to find enough hours to handle a case)

3. Many law firms are in shortage of staff or funding for pro bono work

Who Are Qualified For Pro Bono?

Despite its defects, pro bono is still an affordable and effective way for poor people to solve legal problems. However, not all are qualified to seek legal aid from pro bono.

To qualify for pro bono program, you have to show proof that your income is under a certain level. For a four-member family, the underprivileged clients can get access to a pro bono lawyer on the condition that their income is below the federal poverty level of $24,000.

Also, marginalized and minority communities and disadvantaged citizens, including the elderly, children, and unemployed people can also apply for pro bono assistance. It is part of community services.

Plus, certain types of community cases such as suits against the government, civil rights issues, and police misconduct issues can turn to pro bono departments, too.

How To Seek Pro Bono Aid?

If you need pro bono aid, these ways may help you.

First, turn to local or state bar associations. Many bar associations have pro bono programs to offer affordable or no-cost legal help. The lawyers are willing to help the underprivileged clients at no charge.

Second, many private law firms also have pro bono departments for cases such as welfare benefits, obligation, discrimination, and more.

Third, find help at law school legal clinics. Law students help handle your case under the supervision of a clinical professor in areas including family law, elder law, healthcare law, and landlord-tenant problems.

Finally, search on pro bono lawyers websites. The Internet can help match people lacking legal fees with the attorneys offering free legal services.