If it were not for local pro bono legal aid, low-income individuals would be at a disadvantage in a legal dispute. The reason for this is because hiring an attorney is expensive. However, there are ways to receive free legal advice in the state of Texas. Many attorneys work through organizations to volunteer their time and expertise to individuals who would otherwise would not be able to afford it.
Pro bono attorneys can provide legal advice or representation through different kinds of legal issues. If you do not qualify for free services, there are still lawyers who participate in legal aid programs. These programs provide specific groups of people with affordable legal services. If you want to find out how to obtain these services and more, continue reading the sections below.
What Is Local Pro Bono?Pro bono comes from the Latin phrase “pro bono publico,” which means “for the public good.” Providing local pro bono services is a requirement for many bar associations. These are legal services performed for free or at a lower price. Furthermore, there is a need for legal services for low-income families.
According to the American Bar Association (ABA), 40 percent of the low-income and moderate-income families will have a legal problem each year.
There may be pro bono attorneys in your area if you know where to look. Corporate pro bono efforts are usually focused on helping nonprofits or mentoring small businesses. Other types of pro bono services may include general contracting of free lawyers. These loaned employees are also provided to nonprofits in need of legal assistance.
In the United States, the ABA requires lawyers to contribute at least 50 hours of pro bono service each year. In certain states, the number of hours may differ or there may not be a set number of hours. However, the disclosure of the annual pro bono work performed must be provided.
How to Receive Pro Bono Legal Aid?Typically, you can only receive local pro bono if you have been accused of a crime. You need to sign an affidavit swearing that you are “indignant” and have very few possessions. However, there are other ways you can receive pro bono legal assistance. For instance, you can receive aid from pro bono lawyers if:
- You are a victim of domestic violence
- Are a disabled veteran
- Your income meets the poverty requirements
Another way to receive a pro bono lawyer is when you are receiving financial assistance from government programs. If you are part of any income-based government program, then you will most likely receive legal aid. However, this is not always the case.
How to Find Pro Bono AttorneysThere are many ways to find Texas attorneys that offer pro bono services. The first place to look can be legal aid societies. These organizations have the sole purpose of providing low-income individuals or families with the legal support they need. These organizations are often supported by local bar associations. For instance, if you are looking for Austin attorneys at a legal aid society, Austin Bar associations will fund these organizations.
You can also discover pro bono services at area law schools. For instance, if you are looking for Houston attorneys, then check out nearby universities and you may find a great source of law students in need of volunteer hours.
Certain schools will require students to complete a specific number of hours before they can graduate. Students cannot volunteer for very many hours. However, they will work with community organizations to provide legal help. The final resource is the state or local bar association. These associations provide pro bono legal aid to applicants who meet the criteria of the program.
The process to obtain local pro bono services begins with applying. You will first have to attend a free legal clinic. The legal clinic will provide free legal advice to those from low-income backgrounds. However, there are certain legal clinics that serve a specific group of people or tend to certain legal issues. For example, some legal clinics will only service veterans. Legal clinics are also capable of providing you with a volunteer lawyer.
How to Obtain Free Legal Aid
Once the legal clinic has handled your application, you may qualify to be represented by one of their lawyers. Whether they are Dallas lawyers or San Antonio attorneys, you must visit a legal clinic for application processing in the state of Texas.
When you are found eligible to speak with a lawyer, you are expected to meet with them in a timely manner as they are handling many cases. It is also important to note that most clinics cannot handle last minute requests for this reason.