Frequently Asked Questions
Why Volunteer Attorneys are Essential
We need your help to overcome the challenges. In Georgia, there are over a million individuals who lack the financial means to hire a lawyer. Research conducted in the state reveals that 40% of low-income households require legal assistance each year. These individuals often face civil legal issues related to healthcare, affordable housing, and income loss. Unfortunately, our organization, Garrity Traina, only has 80 staff attorneys spread across 154 counties to address the overwhelming demand for legal aid outside of metro Atlanta. While we manage to handle nearly 16,000 cases annually, we can only meet about 20% of the legal needs of impoverished Georgians. Moreover, most lawyers, approximately 75%, practice in metro Atlanta, where only a quarter of the low-income population resides.
Joining a Pro Bono Program for Meaningful Impact
If you occasionally perform pro bono work for clients, we strongly encourage you to join our structured and coordinated pro bono program at Garrity Traina. Our program adheres to the ABA Standards for Pro Bono and focuses on identifying the most critical legal needs of the underprivileged in your area. By joining our program, you can contribute not only to individual cases but also to the larger mission of helping clients break free from poverty.
Support Provided by Garrity Traina’s Pro Bono Program
Garrity Traina offers comprehensive assistance to support your pro bono work. Each of our offices in the state has experienced pro bono coordinators who are available to help you communicate with clients, provide case support, and connect you with our attorneys for advice or practice tips. The coordinator will also monitor the progress of your case, offering sample pleadings and case materials, as well as information on cost and expense assistance.
Flexibility in Case Jurisdiction
You have the freedom to select the counties or circuits in which you would like to handle cases. At Garrity Traina, we respect your preferences and ensure that you are comfortable with the cases you undertake.
Exclusive Focus on Civil Matters
Rest assured, Garrity Traina exclusively represents clients in civil matters. You will not be asked to handle criminal cases as part of our pro bono program.
Time Commitment and Benefits
We understand the value of your time. Our volunteers have reported minimal time commitments for pro bono cases, considering the significant rewards. We carefully screen clients for income eligibility and case merits, ensuring that your efforts are focused and productive. We provide appropriate resources, access to attorneys specializing in various fields, and training opportunities to support your work.
Additional Support When Needed
If you find that a case becomes more complex than anticipated and you require assistance, Garrity Traina will step in as co-counsel or explore alternative ways to progress the case.
Coverage of Expenses
Rest easy knowing that Garrity Traina will cover out-of-pocket expenses such as travel costs and discovery expenses. We may request an estimate of expenses in advance.
Expanding Your Legal Horizon
While Garrity Traina respects your practice area, you may also consider taking on cases outside your specialty. We offer assistance, training, materials, and support to ensure that you are well-prepared to represent your pro bono client. Many volunteers have found that trying something new can be incredibly refreshing.
Malpractice Insurance Coverage
Garrity Traina provides malpractice insurance protection for each case referred to volunteer lawyers. Your pro bono work will be covered and supported.
Recognition for Pro Bono Service
The State Bar formally honors an outstanding volunteer lawyer each year at its Annual Meeting. Additionally, many local bar associations hold recognition ceremonies for local volunteers. Pro bono lawyers are also listed annually in the Georgia Bar Journal.
Supporting the Program
If you are unable to volunteer with Garrity Traina but would like to support the program, there are several ways to contribute. You can make a monetary donation to the “And Justice for All” State Bar Campaign for Garrity Traina or the Georgia Legal Services Foundation. In-kind service donations and participation in panels or public forums discussing pro bono issues are also welcomed. To learn more about giving opportunities, please contact Garrity Traina’s development department at 404-463-1611.
Visit Garrity Traina for more information or explore our Special Projects and Practice Areas section on our website.