Pro Bono by the Numbers
Legal Aid Works® relies on a cadre of compassionate attorneys who volunteer their time to assist clients Legal Aid Works® would otherwise have to turn away. Did you know that we turn away two out of every three eligible applicants simply because we don’t have the staff resources to handle the overwhelming need?
Last year Legal Aid Works® was able to leverage the time and talent of scores of local pro bono attorneys, providing thousands of hours of uncompensated time to complete cases in a range of civil legal matters throughout the seventeen counties we serve. Each volunteer attorney has his or her own reasons for doing pro bono; here are a few of the most cited motivations.
I Do Pro Bono Because…
Pro Bono Benefits Our Community: Attorneys doing pro bono work get great personal satisfaction while burnishing their professional reputation when helping the least fortunate in our community. As an attorney, you have unique and valuable skills that can make a real difference to the quality of life in our community.
Pro Bono Pays: Pro bono can be compensated in reduced taxes. The Virginia Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) values pro bono work at $125/hour and offers tax credits for qualified professionals. We would be happy to help you see if you qualify.
Pro Bono Develops Skills: New attorneys gain valuable experience, possibly including trial experience. Because pro bono services are in high demand, young attorneys can practice at a more advanced level earlier than their peers. Experienced attorneys may gain knowledge and experience in areas of the law they haven’t practiced in before.
Pro Bono Complements Private Practice: Pro bono attorneys often meet people (including other lawyers and judges) who become valuable sources of clients for their practice. Expanded knowledge and experience gained while handling pro bono cases can be used to expand a private practice into new areas of the law. Judges appreciate lawyers who help the smooth running of the court by assisting clients who otherwise would be stumbling through the process pro se.
Pro Bono is Stimulating and Rewarding: Pro bono work makes a positive difference to a person who is at a low ebb in their life. Your pro bono clients will receive better outcomes in court than if they were to represent themselves, and as someone who cares, you will do wonders for their self-esteem and self-image. You can change your client’s life!
Pro Bono is The Right Thing to Do: Under Virginia Professional Responsibility Rule 6.1, “a lawyer should render at least two percent per year of the lawyer’s professional time to pro bono publico legal services.” Are you fulfilling your duty to provide that service to those in need?
Willing to Take a Case? Contact the pro bono coordinator at any of our three offices for more information. Fredericksburg: 540-371-1105 (Carolyn Ross); Culpeper: 540-825-3131(Sarahi Johnson); Tappahannock: 804-443-9393 (Kim Wilkins).
Legal Aid Works® is a 501(C )(3) nonprofit organization and is also certified to offer tax credits under the Virginia Neighborhood Assistance Act. Legal Aid Works® is registered as a charitable organization under the Virginia Solicitation of Contributions Law; a financial statement is available from the State Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services upon request.
Pro Bono donations are tax deductible under federal law. In addition, pro bono donations of $1,000 or more may entitle the donor to a 65% state income tax credit against business tax liability. Pro Bono attorney representation is valued at $125 per hours for purposes of state income tax credits.
Legal Aid Works℠ Pro Bono Honor Roll
What makes our pro bono volunteers tick? Why do they donate their time and expertise for Legal Aid Works® clients? You know about all the altruistic and selfish reasons why someone would want to do this. Let’s hear from some of them to find out why they said, “Yes!” when Legal Aid Works® asked for their help.
Winner of the 2013 Legal Aid Works® Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award
When Tom Bundy retired from a distinguished career in public service as Deputy Assistant General Counsel at the Department of Agriculture about 10 years ago, he was not thinking about another career as a pro bono attorney. When his friend, Fredericksburg attorney Glenn Goodpasture suggested he consider volunteering at Legal Aid Works®, Tom decided to give it a try. He started showing up every Monday in the Legal Aid Works® Culpeper branch office for several hours to assist applicants who were denied Social Security Disability benefits. Ten years later, Tom was the well-deserved recipient of the Legal Aid Works® Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award, presented at the 40th Anniversary Gala in May of 2013, just when Tom was set to retire, yet again, in order to move to the Shenandoah Valley area to be closer to his new grandchild.
Throughout the ten years of pro bono service, Tom took great personal satisfaction taking on the tough but winnable cases that had been previously denied benefits. His clients are disabled, often in desperate circumstances, and already with at least one or two strikes against them in the long and complicated administrative appeal process. In dire need of the medical coverage that comes with a disability determination, his clients were often at an enormous disadvantage when trying to prove impairments without access to health care they could afford.
With his background in the Federal Government, Tom was uniquely qualified to sort through the mind-numbing bureaucracy and blizzards of paperwork that a successful disability case would entail. Over the last decade, Tom completed 110 cases for Legal Aid Works®, all for free, mostly concentrating on the critical need for representation in Social Security Disability appeals. Thanks, Tom! You made a difference!
Ross should win the award for the most matter-of-fact, self-effacing pro bono attorney ever. He simply can’t understand why more attorneys don’t volunteer their time, considering all the intangible rewards that come from the great chance to give back as a fortunate professional.
From his Garrisonville Road office in Stafford, Ross Locklear has quietly taken two or three pro bono clients per year referred to him by Legal Aid Works®, for a time period stretching back twenty years.
Ross wonders why some lawyers don’t help out at all. He says wryly, “Lawyers make more money than we ought to be able to make, so it only makes sense to help those in need.” Besides, he feels “it is an ethical requirement.” Ross also donates to Legal Aid Works℠, but he says the pro bono work is more rewarding to him than writing a check.
Ross has been doing pro bono work ever since he moved to the Fredericksburg area and joined the local bar. When asked why he didn’t do pro bono when he was an associate at a law firm in Northern Virginia, Ross says simply, “Nobody ever asked for my help until I moved to Fredericksburg and I was asked by Legal Aid Works℠.” He thinks the firm would have been happy to support his pro bono work way back then. Yes, billing was important back in those days, but most pro bono cases only take a couple of hours and it reflects well on the firm as well as the individual.
Now that Ross is thinking about retirement, he wants to encourage a new crop of attorneys to get involved. Are you willing to follow Ross’ example?
2015 Legal Aid Works®
PRO BONO ATTORNEYS
|Billman, Bruce||Barna, Mary||Danieli, David|
|Carpenter-Hughes, Elizabeth||Hurd, Elizabeth||DeJarnette, Elliott|
|Dance, Thomas||Lewis, Bill||McDaniel, Mary|
|Danieli, David||Monroe, James||Province, Thomas|
|Gold, Emily E.||Sebren, Herbert|
|Goodall, Robert||Smith, Nicholas|
|Pardee, Lynn S.V.|
THANKS FOR EVERYTHING YOU DO FOR OUR CLIENTS!