Legal Aid Pro Bono Resource Guide

While legal professionals understand the necessity for all people, despite their financial situations, to have access to legal assistance, the demand for free legal services often outweighs availability. Many states have reduced this gap by developing innovative programs, such as requiring attorneys to do pro bono work or to provide low bono, pre-paid and unbundled legal services, but the limited number of attorneys actually volunteering their services makes it a difficult feat to overcome.

Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.

Featured Links

  • Zorza, Richard. Public Libraries and Access to Justice. (2010). Future Trends in State Courts. Courts are working with public libraries to provide court-related information to self-represented litigants. The internet is a key component of this effort.

Public Interest Law Organizations

  • ABA State Directory of Pro Bono Opportunities. This web site provides links to pro bono opportunities in all fifty states, with over 1,000 programs in their listing.
  • Alliance for Justice. A Web site dedicated to the advocacy of the following areas: judicial advocacy; nonprofit advocacy; foundation advocacy; and student advocacy.
  • American Bar Association Center for Pro Bono. This is a project of the ABA’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. Links include pro bono news; volunteering; ABA pro bono and other information resources; clearinghouse library; a directory of local pro bono programs; and a law school public interest and pro bono programs directory.
  • Center for Law and Social Policy. CLASP concentrates on family policy and access to civil legal assistance for low-income families. Family policy projects include welfare reform, workforce development, child care, child support enforcement, child welfare, couples and marriage policy, and reproductive health and teen parents. Civil legal assistance projects include "general counsel" to LSC-funded programs and the Project for the Future of Equal Justice.
  • Children`s Defense Fund. Provides numerous services with the best interest of the child being emphasized. The needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities are addressed.
  • Farmers Legal Action Group. The organization provides legal services to family farmers and rural communities.
  • Legal Services Corporation. LSC is a private, nonprofit corporation established by Congress to seek to ensure equal access to justice under the law for all Americans by providing civil legal assistance to those who otherwise would be unable to afford it.
  • National Center for Law and Economic Justice. The Center is a recognized national leader in using litigation to improve welfare programs. Current major themes in their legal and policy work include: enforcing legal rights, improving program administration and assuring agency accountability; promoting access to benefits for persons with disabilities; promoting access to food stamps and Medicaid; and promoting access to quality child care.
  • National Center for Poverty Law. NCPL is a legal and policy research, communications, and advocacy organization dedicated to achieving social and economic justice for low-income people. The Web site provides access to a poverty law library and updates of the latest news on poverty law.
  • National Equal Justice Library. An online research resource for individuals who want to learn about the history of legal aid and indigent criminal defense in the United States and other countries.
  • National Health Law Program. The National Health Law Program is a national public interest law firm that seeks to improve health care for America's working and unemployed poor, minorities, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
  • National Senior Citizens Law Center. The site provides access to news, publications, issues, and cases related to elderly individuals and persons with disabilities.
  • National Veterans Legal Services Program. NVLSP helps veterans who, because of the effects of military service, have been unable to share in opportunities available to most Americans. The site also provides links to other veterans websites.
  • Pro Bono Institute. The Pro Bono Institute focuses on improving access to the civil justice system for low- and moderate-income persons and the organizations that serve their needs. Their activities include the Law Firm Pro Bono Project, which helps law firms to develop effective pro bono programs and make them part of their practice, philosophy, and culture.
  • Public Counsel Law Center. Public Counsel is the largest pro bono law office in the nation. Their areas of interest include child care law, homelessness prevention, children's rights, immigration, consumer law, major litigation, and community development.
  • Public Interest Clearinghouse. Provides information, support, and statewide coordination to the legal services community to enhance the delivery of legal services to the indigent. In that regard, the clearinghouse explores innovative technology solutions, assists law students committed to public interest work, creates training opportunities for advocates, communicates critical information, and advocates for legal services programs.
  • Southern Poverty Law Center. A nonprofit organization that combats hate, intolerance, and discrimination through education and litigation. Its programs include the Intelligence Project, Teaching Tolerance, and
  • Trial Lawyers for Public Justice. Provides links to this organization’s work regarding unnecessary secrecy in the courts, mandatory arbitration abuse, federal preemption of injury victims' claims, and class action abuse.

State Directories

Ethical Issues and Requirements for Lawyers Providing Legal Services

The Need for Legal Services

Prepaid Legal Services

Court Rules

Unbundled Legal Services