LAWM PRO BONO PROGRAM
As long as there have been lawyers, there have been
pro bono publico
services provided. The early efforts were undertaken by individual attorneys.
A more formal pro bono "movement" began in earnest in the early 1980s. The federally funded Legal Services Corporation, which provides significant funding to civil legal aid programs across the country including Legal Aid of Western Michigan, began requiring its grant recipients to devote 12.5% of their grant to set up programs to involve the private bar in the delivery of civil legal services to eligible clients. Since the number of private attorneys greatly exceeds their legal aid counterparts, it made sense to tap into their generosity to expand the impact and reach of services. LAWM began recruiting attorneys and firms to donate their time by taking actual case referals from LAWM.
West Michigan attorneys and firms have responded overwhelmingly. Since 1984, the private bar in West Michigan has donated over 117,000 hours of time, valued at $21 million through the LAWM Pro Bono Program. During the past decade private attorneys in our service area have donated nearly $100,000 per month in free legal services to individuals and families who would otherwise have likely been unrepresented.
Although we have an amazing and strong Pro Bono Program at LAWM, we are always seeking additional volunteers. If you would like to be part of this important effort, please contact our Pro Bono Program Coordinator,