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University of New Hampshire Law Review

Abstract

[Excerpt] "While many private sector attorneys offer pro bono legal services that reflect the same level of diligence and skill characteristic of the work done on behalf of their paying clients, the egregious failures described in the MC v. GC case and those that occur in many unreported matters highlight the dangers of pro bono initiatives designed to bridge the “access to justice gap.” As used here, the term “justice gap” refers to the chasm between the need for legal representation in civil disputes and public interest attorneys available to serve poor and working class clients. Justice gap pro bono programs connect low-income individuals in need of legal assistance in matters such as eviction prevention, family disputes, and consumer debt collection cases with attorneys from large law firms that typically specialize in commercial litigation and corporate transactions. Though well intentioned, justice gap pro bono initiatives that succeed do so in spite of the impediments to ethical representation that pervade this method of legal service delivery. The market forces and “informal collegial control” that shape attorney conduct in the for-profit setting are often absent within the world of pro bono service. Moreover, the ethics rules that should govern pro bono attorneys offer inadequate guidance to lawyers grappling with the unique concerns of pro bono lawyering practiced in a for-profit context."

Repository Citation

Barbara Graves-Poller, Is Pro Bono Practice In Legal “Backwaters” Beyond The Scope Of The Model Rules?, 13 U.N.H. L. REV. 1 (2015). Available at http://scholars.unh.edu/unh_lr/vol13/iss2/3

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