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Pro Bono Week recognizes contributions, need for free legal aid in Idaho

Posted at 5:15 PM, Oct 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-24 19:15:03-04

The constitution grants the right to legal counsel in criminal cases, but on the civil side, that's where experts say pro bono work makes the difference. 

"There are a lot of people that really don't have the resources to get their legal matters moving through the system," said Idaho Supreme Court Justice Robyn Brody.

Recognizing the need to provide free legal services for those with financial limitations, the Idaho Supreme Court encourages public and p rivate sector attorneys to participate in pro bono work. 

Last year, 741 attorneys worked on more than 500 cases across the state during Pro Bono Week.

This year, the Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program (IVLP) says more than 800 attorneys are participating in pro bono work, donating more than 14,000 hours of free services.

"We receive about 5,000 calls to our office each year, and from that, we're able to provide services or direct-case placement to about 600 of those individuals," said Anna Almerico, IVLP Program Director. "The others go to legal clinics statewide, but there's a huge gap in services and a proven need."

In total, the free legal advice and counsel helped more than 1,300 people with services valued at $3 million. 

"I know that attorneys throughout this state, in every single community, spend a lot of time helping their neighbors, because that's what we do," said Brody.