Bar News - January 20, 2016
Morning Mail: Participation in Reduced Fee and Pro Bono Worthwhile
I read with interest the letter from attorney Jamie Hage (“The NH Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service is a Source for Interesting Cases”) in the Dec. 16, 2015, issue of Bar News. I, too, have been a participant in the Lawyer Referral Service Program for many years, and I agree with attorney Hage that it can be an excellent source for referrals of interesting and good, fee-generating cases.
In addition to the Full Fee Referral Program, I have also participated in the Reduced Fee Referral Program and the Pro Bono Program for many years, and I would like to address one aspect of attorney Hage’s letter in which I believe he implied that the Reduced Fee Referral Program is not worthy of participating in because of the program requiring a fee cap of $80 per hour.
To the extent Hage does not feel that the Reduced Fee Referral Program is worth participating in, I respectfully disagree. That program has referred me many interesting cases over the years, primarily in family law, but also in the areas of probate, wills, landlord-tenant and basic civil litigation.
Many of the reduced-fee cases I have accepted have given me a great deal of satisfaction. I have been gratified to represent legal interests of clients who simply would be unable to afford an attorney’s full hourly billing rate. I have also been able to make money on these cases, even though the maximum hourly rate is significantly below my usual billing rate. I feel that the Reduced Fee program, too, has been very worthwhile for me to participate in, and I highly recommend that program to the entire Bar membership.
Lastly, a word about the Pro Bono Program. By definition, no one is going to make any money by participating in that program. However, it seems to me that the benefits to the people who are served by that program who simply cannot afford the services of legal counsel at any price are invaluable to them. Participation in the program is a credit to the attorney providing those services as well as to the profession as a whole. Surely almost all of us can find the time to take on at least a couple of Pro Bono cases each year, and thereby help to advance the goal of equal justice for all, regardless of ability to pay.
Ronald P. Indorf