Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Free Legal Aid is Available

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Union Trust Building, now home to the American...     If you have ever been in the unfortunate predicament of being arrested, you know that if you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to you.  However, if you need to pursue a legal matter and  meet the federal poverty guidelines services may be provided to you pro bono.  The phrase pro bono publico is derived from the Latin meaning "for the public good".  Pro bono services are provided by lawyers to individual with low-income and also because of their belief in a certain cause.  Pro bono programs and legal aid are also available for senior citizens, the disabled, victims of domestic violence, and the military that can fall outside these income requirements.  Legal aid can provide information as well as advice on litigation and serve as an appellate advocacy.  There are many resources for legal aid and pro bono services that can be found on the Internet.  For more information go to the American Bar Association  public resource page where you will find numerous links to educate you on these services.
     Under ethical rules, the ABA recommends that US attorneys donate 50 hours per year to pro bono services.  Larger law firms often fall short of this quota.  For about 40% of the legal cases that occur each year for the low-income only 20% are met.  In 2007, Stanford Law School students founded Building a Better Legal Profession .  This website provides information for future lawyers about various law firms and also about their pro bono participation.  This, in affect, has encouraged larger firms to increase their participation in pro bono programs. 
     Listed are some sites that can guide you to lawyers that provide pro bono services:
     For a consumers guide to legal aid for self help go to .
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