Difference Between Pro Bono Attorneys and Legal Aid Attorneys

Pro Bono vs. Legal Aid Attorneys

Pro bono and legal aid attorneys both provide legal services to people who cannot afford to pay, but there are some key differences between the two.

Pro Bono Attorneys

Pro bono is a Latin phrase meaning "for the public good." Pro bono attorneys are lawyers who volunteer their time and expertise to provide free legal services to people in need. They may work for a law firm, a non-profit organization, or on their own. Pro bono attorneys typically handle a variety of cases, including family law, immigration, housing, and criminal defense.

Legal Aid Attorneys

Legal aid is a government-funded program that provides free or low-cost legal services to people who meet certain income and asset requirements. Legal aid lawyers are employed by law firms or non-profit organizations that are contracted by the government to provide legal assistance. Legal aid lawyers typically focus on specific areas of law, such as family law, employment law, and civil rights.


Here is a table summarizing the key differences between pro bono and legal aid attorneys:

Feature Pro Bono Legal Aid
Compensation No compensation Paid by the government or non-profit organization
Funding Lawyers volunteer their time Funded by government grants or donations
Eligibility No income or asset requirements Must meet income and asset requirements
Focus Variety of areas of law Specific areas of law

How Pro Bono and Legal Aid Attorneys Can Help

Here are some examples of how pro bono and legal aid attorneys can help people:

Pro Bono Attorneys Can:

* Represent people in court proceedings * Provide legal advice and counseling * Draft legal documents * Help people with their immigration status * Assist people with child custody or adoption proceedings

Legal Aid Attorneys Can:

* Help people with domestic violence issues * Represent people in housing court * Assist people with employment discrimination claims * Provide legal advice and counseling on civil rights issues * Help people with bankruptcy proceedings

How to Get Help

If you are unable to afford a lawyer and need legal assistance, you may be eligible for pro bono or legal aid representation. You can find more information about pro bono and legal aid services in your area by contacting your local bar association or a legal aid organization.

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Important Information

Legal Aid Funding
Legal aid professionals and organizations oftentimes receive government funding for taking on cases with those who cannot afford attorneys. For the most part, funding is limited so legal aid entities can only take on a limited amount of cases. Qualifications are often rigid.