Non-Profit Criminal Defense Attorneys
What Does a Non-Profit Lawyer Do?
A non-profit attorney handles many of the same issues as a business lawyer, but focuses on the special issues that affect non-profit organizations. An attorney can help your non-profit if you’re just starting up and need guidance on the paperwork that needs to be filed, when you file taxes, or when you need litigation.
How Do I Know If I Need a Non-Profit Lawyer?
Non-profit organizations have their own specialized forms and requirements to fulfill that business attorneys might not be familiar with. A non-profit lawyer can help you lay the proper foundation so that your organization can flourish.
Your non-profit lawyer can advise you on the right form of entity for your organization, depending on the activities and goals you plan to achieve. For instance, your charitable organization may be able to gain a tax-exempt status if you meet conditions set forth in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and maintain specific documents. A political organization, private foundation, or religious organization has different legal and tax obligations.
What is a Pro Bono Clinic?
Pro bono programs help low-income people find volunteer lawyers who are willing to give free legal advice or, in more rare instances, to actually handle an entire case for free. Some of these probrams also offer a free legal hotline that you can call in order to ask an attorney for a quick legal opinion. These programs are usually sponsored by state or local bar associations, and are frequently staffed by highly experienced attorneys that have their own practices but volunteer a portion of their time to help the less fortunate. You can look for pro bono programs in your area by visiting the attorney search page here on HG.org or by contacting your local bar association.
How to Find Legal Help When You Can’t Afford a Lawyer
USUALLY WHEN YOU HIRE an attorney, it’s to avoid being drained financially by an ex-spouse, former business partner or adversary who wants to sue you. But what do you do when you need a lawyer to protect your assets and paying for one is out of the question?
In a criminal proceeding, if you can’t afford legal assistance, a court will appoint an attorney for you. In a civil case, generally described as a dispute between two private parties, to get legal representation, you have to get creative.
Here’s how to find legal help if you can’t afford a lawyer:
- Contact the city courthouse.
- Seek free lawyer consultations.
- Look to legal aid societies.
- Visit a law school.
- Contact your county or state bar association.
- Go to small claims court.
Depending on your situation, you can employ a variety of strategies to get free legal advice or cheap legal assistance. Read on for more information on each option.
The Risks and Advantages of Pro Bono Legal Services
The Latin term “pro bono” literally translates to “for the good”. Although state and bar associations have varying criteria for what constitutes pro bono work, it is generally understood to refer to legal services performed free of charge for the public good, often on behalf of individuals or organizations of limited means.
Pro bono work can enrich a lawyer’s practice and prove beneficial for law firms. All lawyers, especially those newer to the profession, can gain knowledge and experience by handling pro bono matters that involve substantive legal work. The satisfaction of contributing to the public good and improving the lives of clients has its own humanitarian rewards that are impossible to quantify. Law firms encourage pro bono work in order to:
- Train their associates
- Recruit law students and other lawyers.
- Enhance their own public reputations by giving back to their communities.
- Develop business.
While pro bono work can be a positive experience for lawyers and law firms, it remains the practice of law and thus has inherent risk. Problems often occur when lawyers and law firms take an inattentive approach to pro bono matters, failing to dedicate the attention and care that would be given to a paying client.
Five pro bono organizations you should know about…
Interested in pro bono? Every year associates at law firms across the country tell us about the pro bono work they get involved in. Several organizations crop up again and again. Here’s a round-up of ten of them…
- Her Justice – formerly called InMotion, Her Justice helps women in New York City who are experiencing poverty and, often, domestic abuse. Lawyers provide advice on immigration, orders of protection, and divorces, among many other things.
- Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts – founded in 1969, New York-based VLA provides legal representation to low-income individual artists and non-profit arts organizations. Partner firms include Akin Gump, Fitzpatrick, Gibson Dunn, Axinn, Hangley, Davis Polk, and Cravath.
- My Sister’s Place – this non-profit provides residential shelters and a range of support services (including legal) to victims of domestic violence, and their children.
- Human Rights First – founded in 1978, Human Rights First works with people at home and abroad whose human rights are at risk: for example, refugees, victims of crimes against humanity, and people who have been discriminated against. Offices are in Washington, DC, New York and Houston. As well as pro bono opportunities for lawyers, the organization offers summer and semester internships to law students. Firms with members on the board include Eversheds Sutherland, Debevoise, and Schulte Roth & Zabel.
- The Bronx Defenders ) – provides criminal defense, family defense, civil legal services, advocacy and other support to indigent residents of the Bronx.