What Are Pro Bono Attorneys?

What Is A Pro Bono Attorney?

The pro bono attorney refers to the attorney who handles all or a portion of your legal case at no cost for you and charges no fee from any other source either.

If you have a basic knowledge of legal services and have heard about legal aid, which is a kind of legal help charging no fee from the clients, you may wonder the difference between pro bono attorneys and those lawyers who work for the traditional legal aid organization. Well, it's quite easy to tell the difference from the aspect of salary. Lawyers providing legal aid services are paid by the funders of legal aid organizations, while pro bono attorneys get NO pay at all.

Why Do People Need Pro Bono Attorneys?

The existence of pro bono attorneys gives those marginalized members of the community chances to access justice without going bankrupt.

Even though people are entitled to represent themselves in a court of law in the US, most of them prefer turning to someone else professional, unless they practice law themselves. However, some disadvantaged citizens, such as low-income earners, cannot afford the high rates of pay commanded by highly skilled and educated lawyers.

What Do Pro Bono Attorneys Expect From You?

To offer help as best as they can, pro bono attorneys need their clients' cooperation. Here's a list of what they may expect from you. Attention, if you fail to meet these expectations, you might not get assistance from pro bono lawyers.

1. Conduct yourself appropriately when interacting with attorneys.

Inappropriate conduct may lead to a bad impression and a long shot of further cooperation. Improper behavior includes profanity, speaking in a raised voice, intoxication, threats, harassment, and any actual or threatened physical or verbal abuse.

2. Get well-prepared before meeting with lawyers.

It's necessary and essential to respect the time of your pro bono attorneys, for they are donating their time to help you at no cost. You'd better write down all your questions about the case and discuss them during a scheduled meeting with your attorney, rather than calling the lawyer EVERY time you think of a problem.

3. Keep following up on your case and do what you promise to do.

If you're asked to provide documents or information, your pro bono attorney will expect you to follow through. But if you're unable to do so or keep a scheduled appointment, let the lawyer know as soon as possible.

4. Notify the lawyer immediately if one of the following occurs: 

  • You get legal help somewhere else.

  • Your contact information changes.

  • You've got a job change, including getting a new job, jumping ship, or getting fired.

  • Your living arrangements or other circumstances change, including pregnancy, which may affect your household income or legal issue.

5. Maintain good communication with your pro bono attorney.

Tell lawyers your needs as quickly as possible, because they might not be able to satisfy your last minute requests. So for your own good, leave enough time for your attorney to process your case.