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Bar News - October 15, 2014

Celebrating Pro Bono in New Hampshire

For the third year, the NH Bar Association is celebrating Pro Bono Month in October, highlighting the extraordinary rate of volunteerism, the quality of services delivered, and the richness of the support NH Bar members provide to each other through training and mentorship.

It’s not just a matter of taking on a case for free. There are many ways to donate time and legal services.

The Bar Association’s Pro Bono Referral Program is one of the oldest statewide programs in the country. Here are some of the reasons why pro bono service in the Granite State is worth celebrating for an entire month.

With a small staff and modest funding from a variety of sources, including many United Way chapters, as well as IOLTA and a sub-grant through the Legal Advice & Referral Center, Pro Bono leverages volunteer attorneys’ contributions to extend help to many people.

The NHBA Pro Bono Referral Program referred 1,423 cases to volunteer attorneys this past year – that’s an average of nearly four cases per day. During the same period, 3,285 low-income New Hampshire residents benefited from free or reduced-fee legal services delivered through Pro Bono.

Throughout Pro Bono Month, there are a variety of volunteer opportunities:

  • The DOVE Project, coordinating with local domestic violence centers around the state, recruits and trains attorneys for limited-scope, short-notice representation at temporary restraining order hearings.
  • The Low-Income Taxpayer Project relies on special expertise of attorneys willing to assist elderly and low-income taxpayers.
  • The Pro Bono bankruptcy project is using a clinic approach that enables and empowers clients to gather the necessary paperwork before coming to a location, where a volunteer attorney can provide multiple consultations in a short period of time.
  • The Foreclosure Relief Project is not just helping clients work with lenders to avoid foreclosure – it’s been recruiting and training a community of volunteer attorneys who are building expertise in a relatively unexplored area of law in our state.
  • And starting this month, Pro Bono Divorce Camp is a multi-session training series that combines instruction in the basics of family law for low-income clients, providing the help of experienced mentors on an actual case.

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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