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The Scholar: St. Mary’s Law Review on Race and Social Justice (2016)
  • Steven A. Krieger
It is becoming increasingly difficult for the middle class to obtain legal counsel.  The average income for the middle class resident is too high to qualify for pro bono legal services, which are based on the federal poverty guidelines, but not high enough to afford market rate attorneys.  To address this issue, a section of the legal community is providing “low bono” legal counsel to these middle class clients—both through small organizations and solo or small firm attorneys.  These attorneys charge rates that are well below market rates to allow middle class clients affordable access to legal counsel that is unquestionably making a difference for the clients these attorneys represent.  To help these clients find affordable counsel and to reduce the access to justice gap on a larger scale, a wider reaching approach is necessary.  Access to Justice Lawyer Referral Service (ATJLRS) was created with the goal of serving this purpose by matching attorneys willing to provide reduced rate counsel to clients in need of reduced rate legal services.  This article begins by examining the definition and history of low bono legal counsel.  Next, it discusses the access to justice gap.  Finally, it introduces ATJLRS as a proposed solution to provide legal counsel to the middle class in a scalable manner.  The article provides a blue print to address the organizational and ethical considerations associated with such organizations, so others may easily replicate and improve upon ATJLRS in their local communities.    
Publication Date
Spring May 30, 2016
Citation Information
Steven A. Krieger. "ARTICLES-Krieger_4-18-2016.pdf" The Scholar: St. Mary’s Law Review on Race and Social Justice Vol. 18 (2016) p. 144 - 182
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