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The Benefits of Pro Bono

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

"Pro bono legal representation has long been the best way to demolish the barriers to courts for people who would otherwise be blocked from justice.

Unfortunately, the American Bar Association's most recent survey of attorneys on their pro bono practices found that approximately 64 percent of respondents had not rendered the ABA's recommended 50 hours per year to people of limited means.

A report published this month in Philanthropy magazine concluded that most attorneys doing pro bono work, the 36 percent of attorneys who perform more than ABA's recommended 50 hours a year, didn't do so for the sole benefit of the client. Those attorneys, according to the report, devoted their time to "[c]hanging America, rather than aiding the vulnerable."

The way to motivate attorneys to provide more free legal representation to needy populations is to assure that attorneys have an interest in providing pro bono assistance and can't afford not to do it. A good deed need not be totally selfless to be effective..."

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Yoana Rodriguez is a lawyer from Guatemala whose main interest lies with human rights, specifically with indigenous communities and women’s rights. Rodriguez volunteers regularly at The Advocates for Human Rights on their National Asylum Help Line, or Linea de Ayuda Nacional de Asilo. LEARN MORE

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