October is Pro Bono Month, and National Pro Bono Week is from October 23-29. In honor of Pro Bono service, we have compiled our top five reasons for providing Pro Bono representation.
- Helping the Less Fortunate – The simplest answer. As attorneys, we have the unique skill and ability to help those in legal crisis. Our firm believes in helping our community by giving back to it. Lawyers are uniquely qualified to assist those that are less fortunate because attorneys understand the law and can assist these folks with crisis they cannot comprehend. Many members of our community cannot afford an attorney, and the Pro Bono system, through 603 Legal Aid, helps connect the less fortunate to attorneys that can assist them through their legal troubles.
- Community – At PMM, we have been involved in the community since the 1980s with Bill Parnell, Nancy Michels, and John Michels. Since then, the leadership at PMM have been avid supporters of the chamber of commerce, rotary and other community organizations and charities. Whether it is serving on a board, participating in a fundraiser, or sponsoring events, we at PMM believe we are part of the community and try to help make our community better. Representing clients pro bono is a small way we can give back to the community we serve.
- Equal Justice Under the Law – This is the NH Bar association slogan. In New Hampshire (and many other states), the vast majority of cases in the Circuit Courts involve parties that are unrepresented. In some situations, one party can afford a lawyer while the other cannot. These situations can create an imbalance of power in the judicial system, and can result in unintentionally unjust results. An unrepresented party is frequently going to feel overwhelmed and have no idea what needs to be presented to a judge in order to succeed. Having an experienced and skilled attorney on your side can make the difference between winning and losing. Our volunteer efforts on pro bono help in a small way to try to balance some of this gap where we can.
- Skills and Experience – For the newer attorneys at PMM, representing Pro Bono clients will frequently provide opportunities to establish courtroom experience. Pro Bono cases are a good way for younger lawyers to get into Court and get live litigation experience, and all while doing it for a great cause. In the meantime, more experienced counsel can take Pro Bono cases to help keep their skills sharp.
- There is a need. – As previously mentioned, a majority of cases in family and district court involve unrepresented parties. Many of these people have lives where they had one or two mistakes that are plaguing them from moving on and making a better life for themselves. At 603 Legal Aid, the organization offers help in defending a debtor from an aggressive creditor, helping someone through a divorce, or in dire circumstances, helping someone get a restraining order from a violent partner. There is a significant need out there for attorneys to assist, and while we at PMM cannot take every case, our goal is to assist where we can in helping those unable to help themselves.