Attorneys play a major role in our system of civil justice. Providing pro bono services to people of limited means can mean the difference between justice for some and justice for all. Pro bono service is one of the most rewarding experiences in an attorney’s career. Helping someone who would otherwise go unrepresented can bring a great deal of career satisfaction.
In Arkansas, as the population of those living in poverty continues to rise, there is a critical, growing need for legal services. One out of every five of our fellow citizens is eligible for legal aid. You can help make the ideal of justice for all a reality in someone’s life today. Read a few examples of how our pro bono volunteers are doing that every day by clicking Client Stories.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PRO BONO AND VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: To contact your area's pro bono coordinator click this link for the Arkansas legal aid four regional pro bono organizations.
The need for pro bono legal services has never been greater. As Arkansas’ poverty population grows, so does the need for representation of their interests. About 16% of Arkansas citizens live at or below the poverty level, compared to 12.4% nationwide. In the Delta area, fully 25% of the population lives in poverty. Meanwhile, federal funding for legal-services programs has continued to decrease, while the State of Arkansas provides no appropriation for civil legal services. Combined with the sizable, growing population of needy residents, this lack of resources creates a perfect storm of injustice. Private attorneys can help address these problems by volunteering.
THE ETHICAL OBLIGATION
In 2005, the Arkansas Supreme Court modified Arkansas Rule of Professional Conduct Rule 6.1 to include an aspirational goal of 50 hours of pro bono service per year. The new Rule clarified the types of cases and clients that qualify as pro bono assistance. The Rule also states that in addition to providing pro bono services, attorneys should make annual donations to the state legal services providers.
Many pro bono matters may be outside a private attorney’s area of expertise. The partnership provides a wealth of resources to help you develop your skills in new areas. You can feel a sense of confidence, and competence, when using the many forms, pleadings and automated documents we offer. Click here to access the Pro Bono Toolbox.