What are pro bono lawyers?


Quick Answer

A pro bono attorney offers his services free of charge to people who cannot afford representation otherwise, explains Sally Kane for About.com. This type of service helps members of underserved populations and marginalized communities, such as the elderly, who do not get justice.

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What are pro bono lawyers?
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Full Answer

Research shows that at least two out of every five households at low and moderate income levels run into a legal problem every year, according to Kane. However, most of those people cannot afford the high price of retaining and keeping an attorney to handle their cases. Basic retainers can run several thousand dollars, even for a simple divorce proceeding. These studies also show that only about 20 percent of those low income people needing representation receive it through the existing civil legal aid effort.

Model Rule 6.1 of the American Bar Association, which governs the ethical practices of lawyers, indicates lawyers should set a goal of providing at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services each year, notes Kane. Some local bar associations and law firms may have different recommendations, either higher and lower. Many law firms and associations for paralegals also suggest paralegals perform a particular number of hours of pro bono work every year.

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