The NBC News Website is carrying a story on the increasing need for pro bono to help respond to the crisis of the self-represented. The story is also running on the AP wire.
Garcia is part of a crush of people who are representing themselves in the nation’s civil courts because they can’t afford lawyers, who typically charge $200 to $500 an hour. The boom has overwhelmed courts and sparked new efforts to get attorneys to meet what the American Bar Association says is its professional responsibility to offer free legal services to people in need.
Pro bono work by large law firms has declined in the past few years amid downsizing because of the economy, according to the July and August issue of ALM’s The American Lawyer magazine. Average pro bono hours per lawyer in large firms dropped to about 54 last year, a 12 percent decrease from a 2009 peak, the magazine reported.
In June, Connecticut Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers urged members of the Connecticut Bar Association to help address what she called her No. 1 concern: the increase in self-represented parties. Judicial officials also held a pro bono summit for lawyers and judges last fall.
The article is useful to quote in any attempt to increase resources and attention to access to justice, not just pro bono. Its good to see mainstream attention to the problem.