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North Carolina Lawyers Serving the Public Interest.

ARTICLE: Thoughts on Better Practices for Pro Bono Legal Services for Clients of Legal Services Organizations

Thursday, August 11, 2011

  • By: Ttheodore ("Ted") O. Fillette, III, Senior Managing Attorney
  • Organization: Legal Aid of North Carolina

The Legal Services Corporation requires its grantee organizations to spend 12.5 percent of their funding on the provision of pro bono legal services by private attorneys.  Here I explore other reasons and better ways for legal serivices organizations to cultivate this form of assistance for their clients.

As a legal services practitioner, I have been involved in developing pro bono work by private attorneys in the Charlotte, North Carolina, metropolitan area since 1984.  I gather four principal reasons for legal services advocates to utilize private attorneys as volunteers for our clients. First, volunteers can help us serve more clients within our high-priority areas....Second, some private aattorneys can deliver certain kinds of assistance more efficiently than legal services' staff attorneys....Third, a strategic reason to cultivate pro bono assistance is that in many jurisdictions some judges may be more receptive to the claims of indigent clients when represented by private attorneys of established firms....And, fourth,  a secondary benefit from the successful delivery of services by private attorneys is the intangible value of creating relationships of trust and respect among legal services and private attorneys....[more]

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