Due to how difficult it is to make ends meet, people plagued with legal issues often find it hard to hire a lawyer. In fact, based on a research by American Bar Association, about 40% of poor people are plagued with legal issues every year, and research also indicate that civil aid effort inly gets to a mere 20% of these poor individuals.
A pro bono lawyer is simply an individual who decides to offer his or her legal services to the poor for free. This can be voluntarily or sometimes, according to a law made by the state government. For example, in the United States, it is stated that lawyers dedicate a certain period of their time in offering pro bono help to individuals who can’t afford to hire a lawyer.
Mind you, pro bono services aren’t just limited to the legal world alone. In other fields like the medical field, pro bono services are offered to individuals and non-profit organizations.
Is Pro Bono Free?
Of course, pro bono services are offered free of charge. Or in some instance, the fees are significantly reduced so that it becomes very affordable to individual who are struggling, financially.
There are several pro bono lawyers out there. Just ensure you get one who is fit for your case. For instance, if you have a civil right allegation leveled against you, get a pro bono lawyer who is skilled in handling civil right cases.
Who is this help meant for?
Pro bono services aren’t meant for the rich but for individuals who don’t get the justice they deserve simply because they lack the finances to hire a lawyer. This individuals ranges from children, the seniors, incapacitated people, etc.
It is also possible for an attorney to- probably out of self-pity- secretly take a case pro bono, or the lawyer can decide to take the case at a cut-price. An attorney can also offer pro bon services to an NGO organization, probably one of those organizations that create awareness about certain social anomalies plaguing a state or community. It is also possible for an attorney to provide financial aid to an organization that offers pro bono or cut-price legal services to the public. You can seek pro bono help at a legal aid office.
It is the duty of all attorneys to offer pro bono services to individuals who lack the financial capacity to pay. According to the ABA, it is the ethical duty of all lawyers to sacrifice about 50 hours of their time yearly to pro bono services. As an act of compensation, the ABA also wave the dues of some senior and inactive members who sacrifice a minimum of 500 hours of their time in offering pro bono services.
Not all states copy the ABA rule. Some states like Miami have their specific rule that involves sacrificing fewer hours to offering pro bono services.
When else are you eligible for a Pro bono Lawyer
When it comes to cases like civil or non-criminal cases, you can’t request for a pro bono lawyer. But even at that, there still exist some legal assistance and pro bono programs that offer free legal assistance to destitute individuals in situations like that. Programs as such provide legal assistance to individuals whose income are low (about 125 % of the federal poverty level). Sometimes, these programs also offer their assistance to individuals who have earn income that is a little higher. The seniors, disabled individuals, and victims of all sort of abuses are also not left out.
Due to the fact that these programs are community-based and they operate on a low budget, they often lack the capacity to provide help to everyone even if you are eligible. So what they do is that, they take on cases that are quite serious, one that boast of a high success rate. Thus, this denotes that, they have no choice but to turn down several people who require their help.