With a rough economy and limited financial resources, many families and individuals simply can’t afford legal services.
The need for free legal services has increased and now the Idaho Supreme Court has dedicated October 21-27 as Pro Bono Week throughout the state.
"They're talking about a great need and no money to pay for it,” said Royce Lee, an Idaho Falls lawyer.
Lee said pro bono work comes into his firm all of the time.
"You see the opportunity to take them wherever they are, which is usually in a difficult place, and try to take them to a better place and improve their position,” said Lee. “It's always a fun opportunity."
Lee and his partners aren't alone. Attorneys all over the area said they dedicate volunteer hours to providing free services to those who need it. The majority of the cases they said, deal with family law.
"Legal work is hard, it's complex and it's something that people can't do on their own,” said Alan Johnston, an Idaho Falls lawyer. “To see the transition from when someone is in despair to when they feel grateful and feel like they have something to move forward with and feel secure, that gives me a good feeling."
Last year alone, more than 700 attorneys worked over 16,000 volunteer hours to more than 1,200 low-income individuals. These free services are valued at over $2,500,000.
"It's something that we want to do,” said Johnston. “There are a lot of good lawyers in the area who volunteer a lot of their time and do a lot of good work for a lot of people."
Area attorneys said if you are in need, there are a number of ways to get in touch with lawyers in your area that provide pro bono service.
The Idaho State Bar, Idaho Legal Aid and Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Programs can help you find the right attorney for you. Click on the following links for more information.