Understanding Pro bono Services
Pro bono is a Latin term. The phrase means “in the best interest of the people”. In legal terms, voluntary legal aid means legal assistance provided for no charge or at low 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 the poor communities. 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 the 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 Voluntary Legal Representation Entail?
Voluntary legal representation is aimed at the poor or financially challenged individuals. They also cover services offered to government, educational, religious, civic, and charitable organizations that are dedicated to helping the poor. Although pro bono is translated by many to mean legal assistance for free, it also covers those legal services that are provided at significantly low rates. The rates charged help the attorney to address some unavoidable costs 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.
Opportunities For Voluntary Legal Assistance
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.
Summing It Up
Pro bono is a legal term that means helping the public. It was introduced in an effort to assist those who are deprived of justice because they have limited finances. The American Bar Association requires lawyers to dedicate sometime to offer free legal assistance.