Attorneys can be expensive. These high costs can put low-income people at a disadvantage when it comes to getting good representation in court.
Fortunately, pro bono attorneys are available to help for free or at a reduced fee. These attorneys can help you win an award or settlement for all types of cases, including:
- Auto accidents.
- Personal injury.
- Workers compensation.
Other lawyers, like pro bono DUI attorneys and pro bono tax lawyers, can give you fair representation and help you avoid penalties you may face.
Read the sections below to find out how a pro bono civil attorney can help you, what types of attorneys are out there and how to find free or low-cost legal help.
Can I get pro bono legal representation?
Pro bono legal services are usually reserved for low-income people. However, different organizations offer pro bono legal help for different groups of people.
You may be able to get legal aid or pro bono services if you’re part of one of these groups:
- Victims of domestic violence
- Active duty service members or veterans
- The elderly
- People with disabilities
Often, pro bono law firms or lawyer organizations will specialize in helping a certain group of people, such as children or women who have been the victim of domestic violence.
Why do pro bono attorneys want to give me free or low-cost legal assistance?
“Pro bono” means “for the public good.” Often, local pro bono lawyers volunteer for communities or organizations to provide a free service for people who cannot afford legal representation.
The American Bar Association, a professional lawyer organization, asks lawyers to volunteer for 50 hours of pro bono work each year.
Other low-income lawyers provide legal aid. This means that they represent low-income people for free or at a low cost, but they are still paid by a non-profit organization or firm that they work for.
Some free lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means that you do not have to pay them any costs out of your own pocket. Instead, they get paid by taking a small percentage of the award or settlement money if they win your case. You usually do not have to meet any income requirements to get help from these lawyers.
What are the different kinds of pro bono lawyers?
All lawyers have their own specialties. Depending on your situation, you will need to find a type of pro bono lawyer who can help you. Here are a few types of volunteer lawyers:
Pro Bono Personal Injury Lawyers
These lawyers will represent you if you or a loved one have been physically harmed due to the negligence of a person or entity (like a company). Some of these attorneys work as pro bono accident lawyers who specialize in helping car accident victims. They will usually try to get a car insurance company to settle or award you money.
If you’re unable to get a pro bono car accident lawyer or personal injury attorney, look for one who works on a contingency basis. This means they will only get paid if they win your case.
A pro bono wrongful death lawyer can help you if a loved one has died due to someone else’s neglect.
Pro Bono Workers Compensation Lawyers
If you have been injured or experienced illness due to your job, you may be able to get workers compensation. However, your employer might not think you qualify. A pro bono workers comp lawyer can help argue on your behalf.
Pro Bono Medical Malpractice Lawyers
These types of lawyers can help if you have been harmed by a medical practitioner, like a doctor or surgeon. Pro bono medical lawyers can also help if a loved one has died due to a medical practitioner’s negligence.
Pro Bono Bankruptcy Lawyers
If you’re unable to pay your debts, then filing for bankruptcy may be your best option. The problem is, it may be hard for you to pay an attorney to help you file. Fortunately, pro bono Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers can help you.
The American Bankruptcy Institute has resources to help you find a pro bono bankruptcy attorney at over 600 locations throughout the U.S.
How to Find a Pro Bono Attorney
Pro bono legal aid is not hard to find if you know where to look. Here are some ways to find attorneys:
- American Bar Association: This organization’s website has resources to help you find a pro bono attorney. Your state and county will also have bar organizations where you can find resources.
- Legal Aid Societies: These organizations offer free or reduced-cost legal help. You can search for them in your local area.
- Law schools: Law school students are usually required to provide some free legal help. Even though they do not have a law degree, they get a special certification that lets them work on cases.