When an attorney takes a “pro bono” case, it means that he or she is providing legal services free of charge. This usually means representing a criminal defendant, though pro bono attorneys have also been used for civil cases in which the attorney was confident of a win. This is a great way for defendants to benefit when they can’t afford legal services, while allowing the attorney to provide a public service.
Pro bono criminal defense attorneys can be found all over the United States. In Texas, pro-bono services are quite popular, and Texas attorneys and paralegals offer their services in different ways, invited by the State Bar of Texas to legally contribute their services to society.
If you are interested in providing your legal services to Texas residents, here are a few ways in which you can help criminal defendants across the state.
#1. Join Texas Lawyers Care
As the main support project for Texas, this institution offers resources, training and assistants to Texas attorneys and paralegals who provide pro bono services. They are an purporter of the Texas Access to Justice Commission, which is a committee who advocates for low-income defendants so that everyone in Texas receives justice for their crimes.
#2. Volunteer and Advertise Your Criminal Defense Services
Even if you are only able to take one case each year, you can advertise in your community or through the State Bar of Texas that you are willing to help out Texas residents in their defense either for free or for a nominal amount.
#3 Mentor Young Attorneys
At the State Bar of Texas website, you can find out about programs which facilitate the learning of young and new attorneys who are just learning their craft. Attorney Mentors donate their time to educating new lawyers on the fundamentals of court proceedings and preparing a defense. These mentors also provide their services as second chair for attorneys who are fighting their first or second cases.
#4 Educating the Youth
The Texas State Bar also provides several educational programs for youth and young adults who are considering a future career in law. Classroom curriculums are created for the purpose of teaching high school and college-age students about the fundamentals of the legal world. Case studies, legal resources and court documents are used as aides with which to teach these classes.
Since the State Bar of Texas does require that all attorneys participate in some form of pro bono work, you can use those hours to help hundreds of people in Texas. Since there are so many options, you should never run dry of ways to serve your community.
Texas attorneys are known nationwide for their interest and devotion to pro bono work. Signing up for pro bono work is not difficult, and you can fill out the required forms at the State Bar of Texas website.