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My Rant: Pro Bono vs. Free Services

My Rant: Pro Bono vs. Free Services

On an almost daily basis, I get at least one phone call from someone asking if we do "pro bono" law and if we will take their case pro bono.

The answer is yes and no.

Our firm does a good amount of pro bono legal work -- usually at the request of certain non-profits, agencies or public officials. In these cases, our firm has an established relationship with the person or organization making the referral.

However, what I have often found is that when people calling in asking about "pro bono" legal representation, they are asking me to do their case for free.

As I often explain to them -- and as I know other attorneys do as well -- law firms are businesses. Our business is providing legal advice and representation.

As a business, we have certain financial obligations that we have to meet (i.e. salaries, rent, insurance, websites, phones, paper, paperclips, coffee, etc.).

We provide legal services to individuals, families and small businesses -- but we charge for those services.

As I recently told one person who called in and asked me to do his case for free: "when you go to work, you expect to get paid. This is our job -- why shouldn't we get paid?"

(The caller still didn't get it.)

While our firm is one of the few firms that offers free consultations, that does not mean that we will work your case for free. It means that we will sit down and listen about your issue(s) and provide you a roadmap for how we would proceed with your case.

It does not mean that we will sign on to your case or draft your legal documents for free. If you need services like those, then we strongly recommend that you contact Legal Aid, the Public Defender's Office or one of the other agencies that provides pro bono legal services for individuals or families.

If you would like to schedule a consultation or talk to us about hiring our firm, please feel free to contact us at 330-653-8511.


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