Lawyers Across US Urged to Give More Free Services

“There’s a crisis in this country,” said John Levi, board chairman of Washington, D.C.-based Legal Services Corp., the nation’s largest funder of civil legal aid for the poor. “Courthouses are being filled with people just showing up, trying to figure out what their rights are. If you’re a low-income person and you have a legal need, it is not easy to get it addressed.”


Lawyers across US urged to give more free services

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Jennifer Garcia stood alone before a judge with a stack of legal papers in her hands, answering questions about her personal life.

She has acted as her own lawyer in state Family Court in a paternity, child support and visitation case on and off for three years, but representing herself in a courtroom full of strangers still makes her nervous.

“Sometimes I get this gut feeling because you never know what the judge is going to say,” said the 23-year-old single mother of two from Hartford.

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.

The increase in self-represented parties stems from a recession that has left fewer people able to afford lawyers and created new waves of foreclosure, debt collection and bankruptcy cases, judges and lawyers say. Judges say self-represented people are slowing down court dockets because they typically don’t know what legal points to argue or what motions to file.

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3 Responses to “Lawyers Across US Urged to Give More Free Services”
  1. talktotennessee says:

    Few lawyers really want to work a case. A lawyer recently told me the ideal case was to be rear-ended by an 18 wheeler. Piece of cake. Having worked for an insurance claim office, this is the type case that the insurance company says, “how much” is it going to cost us to get a release? If there is a death, its policy limits. So most of us have no money to hire a lawyer and even when you find one willing to take your case on contingency or nominally, you often get what you paid for.
    If you really know you case, get a few books on how to present it, do your homework, read the law specific to your cause, study similar cases and give it a whirl. What have you got to lose? I can tell you one thing for a fact, half the criminals in jails are filing pro se these days because the public defenders who put them away scared them in to pleading, and as pawns of the DA sold them down the river regardless of guilt and walked away. So what do these guys do, they go to the law library or an inmate legal and file their own paper.
    If they can do it you can too!
    Save your retainer money, you probably can do a better job of it than some bankruptcy attorney who runs a mill and says you are too needy or not “cost effective” to him as he pockets your money to let his paralegal set a schedule and file a petition that will get you nowhere but down. That whole system is a farce for most people.
    If you need basics get a copy of: Try Your Own Case in Court-And Win”
    by Judge Mel Red Recana with Wanda Sue Parrott
    or if you need inspiration read something like How to Win your Case by Gerry Spence.
    No royalties or perks. A friend working his own case gave me these books and more. Now learning to format, write briefs, argue and handle my own legal work.
    File a forma pauperis if you are penniless. Learn how to work the system with the system’s money.
    So what if it doesn’t work and you lose! What else are you doing beside reading this blog and waiting for your ship to sink anyway?

  2. 1ofthemany says:

    Or they could get some of the proceeds if any depending on the case or make the perpetrator pay as this does happen even today If you get the right lawyer.!! and win. And the win depends on the judge and the people (lawyer) behind you. Yes we all need help.

  3. chitown2020 says:

    The attorney’s could end this charade easily by getting on our side and sueing the crooks on our behalf. There is safety in numbers.

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