How to Find Pro Bono Lawyers in Your Community
Legal cases are being filed in court every day, and people are getting sued by the minute. Legal fees for a good attorney can be very high and in most circumstances, a client’s bank account depletes, whether they win or lose the case, due to various attorney fees.
The state recognizes the right of the people to be able to defend themselves in court, despite their financial and social status. That is why pro bono programs were created by bar association upon the requirement of the state.
It roots from the phrase “pro bono publico” which translates to the phrase: “for the public good.” This means pro bono is done with the public interest in mind. Most lawyers do this partly to improve the image of their firm or to expand their experience and network.
Pro bono programs are found in most bar associations. These programs have attorneys that waive their fees and defend their clients for free or at a relatively lower rate. These lawyers under these bar associations are obliged to do a specified number of hours doing pro bono work.
Pro bono lawyers can help in cases that involve domestic violence, family law, sexual assault, neighborhood disputes, and some criminal matters. It would also depend on the case and the lawyer if they would be able to waive the fees completely or if they would only be able to cut the costs.
Do you qualify for pro bono?
Not just everyone can be allowed to enter the pro bono program. Each program has a given set of standards to determine if a certain individual deserves the free/reduced-rate legal help.
For you to be considered, you have to prove that you are in fact incapable of hiring your lawyer. You can do this by showing them the list of your assets or your income levels. There are also special cases where people living with HIV/AIDs and those who are abused are allowed to be enrolled in the pro bono program.
There are bar associates that require you to get the approval of the head of the firm, the ethical officer, and the supervisor to be allowed in the pro bono program. The complicated process of applying for a pro bono lawyers often result in a lot of people not getting the help they need.
Looking for Pro Bono Lawyers
You do not need to have an extensive network and knowledge on how to find pro bono lawyers in your community. You can find lists on the internet of lawyers who provide free legal help.
All you have to do is determine which bar associate covers your state and look for their website. Most often than not, these bar associates dedicate a section of their website to their pro bono program.
If you don’t know which bar associate handles the lawyers in your community, then there are websites that will help you find the legal help you need. These websites recognize your struggle of not knowing how to find a pro bono lawyer in your community.
You can even look through the yellow pages because some of these bar associations post the whole list of the lawyers involved in their pro bono program. To find the right pro bono lawyer you should contact some of the names listed on the pro bono program and have a consultation with them regarding your specific case. Each lawyer has their specialty and you should determine which lawyer will be able to help you most in your legal issues.
When you have found a pro bono lawyer that can help you in your case, you should be prepared to ask him or her a few questions during the consultation. These questions may include things like their experience in the industry, their knowledge about your case, and the past results of previous cases like yours.
Looking for help in the wrong places would not get you your desired results. By asking the right questions, you will be able to determine which pro bono programs will help you win.
This does not mean, however, that you have the ability to be extremely choosy. These lawyers may be obligated by the state to help you, but it does not mean you can decline every possible lawyer that comes your way just because they did not fit the description you had in mind.