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by A R C
Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010 at 7:47 PM
In one Southern California County, low cost or pro bono services from the legal community simply don't exist.
In California, attorneys are supposed to take a certain percentage of pro bono cases each year. In Orange County, anyone needing pro bono services is told that the attorney cannot afford to do pro bono or has taken too much pro bono work already. What does this mean? It means that the attorney may have completed his or her quota of one free phone call for a well paying client. The pro bono lie is a standard joke among Orange County attorneys.
To check this out, we asked 200 needy potential clients to survey attorneys, presenting their compelling cases and asking for low cost or pro bono services. Over 90% of Orange County attorneys have been contacted to date . Not one of the clients involved in the survey received an offer of pro bono, low cost or reasonably priced work by any of the Orange County attorneys surveyed. Only 10% are left to go. Based on the first 90 %, it seems unlikely anything will change. Even where the potential clients' life depended on obtaining services, the attorneys offered over-priced services that were out of the clients’ price range.
The clients with the worst responses were the victims of domestic violence seeking family law services. Attorneys tended to triple their rates or say the case was too messy when they learned the client was a domestic violence victim.
The State Bar of California has some clean-up work to do in one of California's richest counties.
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