I will not reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the impoverished, the defenseless, or the oppressed.
I will endeavor always to advance the cause of justice....
- Arkansas Attorney's Oath
Become a Volunteer Attorney
Attorneys play a major role in our system of civil justice. Providing pro bono services to people of limited means can mean the difference between justice for some and justice for all. Pro bono service is one of the most rewarding experiences in an attorney’s career. Helping someone who would otherwise go unrepresented can bring a great deal of career satisfaction.
In Arkansas, as the population of those living in poverty continues to rise, there is a critical, growing need for legal services. One out of every five of our fellow citizens is eligible for legal aid. You can help make the ideal of justice for all a reality in someone’s life today. Read a few examples of how our pro bono volunteers are doing that every day by visiting our Client Stories page.
The Need for Volunteer Attorneys
The need for pro bono legal services has never been greater. As Arkansas’ poverty population grows, so does the need for representation of their interests. About 16% of Arkansas citizens live at or below the poverty level, compared to 12.4% nationwide. In the Delta area, fully 25% of the population lives in poverty. Meanwhile, federal funding for legal-services programs has continued to decrease, while the State of Arkansas provides no appropriation for civil legal services. Combined with the sizable, growing population of needy residents, this lack of resources creates a perfect storm of injustice. Private attorneys can help address these problems by volunteering.
The Ethical Obligation
The Arkansas Supreme Court includes an aspirational goal of 50 hours of pro bono service per year as outlined in Arkansas Rule of Professional Conduct Rule 6.1. The Rule states that attorneys should dedicate those 50 hours to:
(1) persons of limited means or
(2) charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters that are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means;
Where an attorney is unable to dedicate this amount of hours, they should make charitable donations equivalent to the time they would offer as a volunteer attorney.
Volunteer Attorney Resources
Many pro bono matters may be outside a private attorney’s area of expertise. The Pro Bono team has provided a wealth of resources to help you develop your skills in new areas. You can feel a sense of confidence, and competence, when using the many forms, pleadings, automated documents, and poverty manuals we offer.
***If you run into a problem accessing the resources page, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our directory to gain full access to our Resources SharePoint Site. You'll receive an email with an invitation to accept access.***
If you are an existing member of one of the following organizations, then you are already a member of the Arkansas Pro Bono Partnership: AVLE, Equal Access to Justice Panel, River Valley Volunteer Attorney Project, or VOCALS.
If you are not a member of those groups, you can apply by completing our online application or by contacting Greneda Johnson at email@example.com.