Whether you run a small law firm of your own, or work within a large legal association, you probably have heard about the importance of doing pro bono legal work. Some corporations like to participate in this type of work in order to improve their reputation within the community, while recent law-school graduates use this as a chance to gain experience.
No matter the reason for doing pro bono work, most legal professionals know how important and rewarding it is. However, busy lawyers find that it is tough to find time to get involved with a pro bono project, especially one that is available in their area. If you are looking for ways to get your firm involved in some pro bono legal work, keep reading to learn about some national programs that are widely available and easy to join.
American Immigration Lawyers Association
Unaccompanied Children Legal Call to Action
The current immigration crisis in the Western Hemisphere needs experienced immigration lawyers to offer their services to the many unaccompanied children now stuck on the southern borders. Thousands of young children need legal representation by qualified immigration lawyers now. If you are an immigration lawyer and have an interest in helping to solve this historic crisis, complete a survey at the AILA website. Completing the survey does not commit one to serve. It is an attempt by the association to find possible volunteers and gather needed information in advance. Both border communities and possibly detention facilities will need seasoned immigration lawyers.
The Military Assistance Program (MAP)
The AILA Military Assistance Program (MAP) is a collaboration between the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Legal Assistance Offices of the U.S. military Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. Volunteer immigration lawyers give free legal assistance to active duty service members and their families. The JAG Corps has been overloaded with complex immigration problems and they need the help of experienced immigration lawyers. Visit the website to learn more about where your legal expertise is needed, and how you can help.
American Health Lawyers Association
National Health Law Program (NHeLP) Pro Bono Partnerships
NHeLP Pro Bono Partnerships give law firms a chance to do meaningful pro bono work for health issues in low-income and underserved communities. These cases give lawyers an opportunity to secure health rights for the nation’s neediest and most vulnerable citizens. The program offers many pro bono opportunities throughout the nation, so whether you specialize in health law, or this is a cause you are interested in helping with—there are many areas that could use your help.
National Innocence Project
The Innocence Network is an association that provides pro bono and investigative services for persons who are committed to proving their innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted. In 2013, the network of organizations exonerated 31 persons who were wrongfully convicted. This program is available both nationally and internationally—in 47 states, and several countries abroad. The program spans from the Innocence Project in California, to Alaska, and reaching even to the United Kingdom and South Africa. Though many states and countries have varying names for the project, they are all under the Innocence Network umbrella. Check the Innocence Network website to see if your state is a member, and learn more about how to get involved.
American Bar Association
Medical-Legal Partnerships Pro Bono Project
Partnerships between lawyers and medical providers team up to help low-income families who are having legal trouble which relates to needs such as housing and income. These partnerships integrate free legal services within a healthcare setting. Nearly 200 hospitals and health care centers in the U.S. give free legal services to patients and training for healthcare providers. Issues include housing, utilities, immigration, public benefits, education and family law.
No matter your personal legal skills, there is a program out there that needs your help. Whether you are interested in pro bono work to improve your reputation in the community, to get more legal experience, or simply because you want to help those in need, this will be a rewarding experience for you and your firm.
This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, finance, women’s interests, and technology. Dixie lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters.