B) I am listed in the VLSP Pro Bono Spotlight at least once or twice a year
C) I helped draft our office’s pro bono policy and encourage firm-wide participation acting as a role
D) I am busy enough with paying clients and will make a financial contribution instead
E) Other (please explain)
If you answered “A”… the Rochester community asks you to make “B” your pro bono policy.
We are very happy with those of you taking a least one pro bono civil case or helping with pro
bono clinics each year. Thank you.
For those who answered “C” – we are delighted that you understand the importance of serving
the underprivileged population who need help advocating for basic needs like food and shelter.
Hats off to your office and many thanks for your participation.
For those who answered “D,” we are delighted with your financial contribution, but ask you to
also handle a pro bono case each year as there are so many more potential clients than
Discussing resources needed to meet pro bono needs, the VLSP board recently hosted a breakfast with managing partners and general counsel to brainstorm ways to increase pro bono civil legal services. Panelists included Appellate Division, 4th Dept. Presiding Justice Henry J. Scudder; Gail Norris, general counsel at University of Rochester; and Carolyn Nussbaum, managing partner at Nixon Peabody LLP.
VLSP currently handles about 1,260 cases per year. However, that only serves about 25% of the clients seeking civil legal services in the Rochester area.
Reports indicate 90% of eviction tenants go without legal representation; similarly nearly 60% of
foreclosures are unrepresented or pro se. This may not be your area of law, but you are more uniquely situated to help than any other segment of the community.
If you don’t help, who will?
Many law schools now require a certain number of pro bono hours.
What’s your plan for the rest of 2015?
By Nora A. Jones