Pro Bono Program provides legal service to indigent, low income

By Marilyn Tennissen | May 31, 2007

The second annual Spindletop Spin bike tour will be held June 9 to benefit the Jefferson County Bar Association Pro Bono Program.

The term pro bono is derived from the Latin phrase pro bono publico, meaning "for the public good."

Hundreds of lawyers in Jefferson County have traditionally donated their time and expertise to low-income individuals and nonprofit organizations.

In October 1987, a group of volunteer lawyers realized the need to provide legal assistance in civil matters to the indigent and low-income residents of Jefferson County and established the Jefferson County Pro Bono Program.

Thousands of individuals who would have otherwise been unable to afford legal services have been helped through the Pro Bono Program. In 2006, more than 225 attorneys volunteered for the program donating more than 2,400 hours of legal services.

But while the service of the attorneys is donated, the Pro Bono Program still incurs substantial costs for reviewing applications, verifying eligibility, assigning cases, and completing reports required by various federal and state agencies. The program may also incur additional costs for service fees or other expenses beyond those services donated by the volunteer attorneys.

To cover those expenses, events like the Spindletop Spin are held by the Pro Bono Program to ensure that the vital service to the community will continue.

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