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Pro Bono Program
Have a legal problem? Need legal representation? The Westmoreland Pro Bono Program provides legal help for low-income Westmoreland County, Pa., residents.
What is the Westmoreland Pro Bono Program?
The Westmoreland Pro Bono Program was formed by the Westmoreland Bar Association and Westmoreland Bar Foundation to help Laurel Legal Services, Inc., provide the best legal representation to eligible clients in the county. Attorneys who participate in the Pro Bono Program volunteer their time and represent clients at no cost.
Custody Support Program
Since 1997, the Pro Bono Program has operated a Custody Program where attorneys represent income-qualified individuals in custody and visitation matters. The program has been very successful with 95% of the participating clients resolving their custody issues prior to or at the preliminary hearing.
Reduced Fee Panel
The WBF developed a Reduced Fee Panel in 2000 to supplement the Pro Bono and Custody Support Programs. Attorneys agree to work at reduced fees for individuals who meet economic guidelines.
How does the Pro Bono Program work?
After being interviewed by the Pro Bono coordinator to determine eligibility, you will be given a scheduled appointment to meet with one of our volunteer attorneys to discuss your case.
These private attorneys are qualified, experienced and dedicated members of the Pennsylvania and Westmoreland Bar Associations who volunteer their time to work on your legal case. They will:
- answer your legal questions,
- provide sound, professional advice,
- review or prepare necessary legal documents,
- represent you in court.
Do I have to pay for anything?
The attorney is donating the time necessary to resolve your legal problem. If certain costs, such as filing fees or other related expenses, are incurred in the course of effectively representing you, your attorney may ask you to pay for them.
What kinds of cases does the Pro Bono Program handle?
Our volunteer attorneys are trained in areas such as:
- Landlord/Tenant Law,
- Simple Wills,
- Bankruptcy, and
- much more.
The Pro Bono Program does not handle:
- Criminal Cases,
- Traffic Offenses (including DUI, DWI and driver's license suspensions), and
- Contingency Cases which may generate a fee for an attorney.
What are my responsibilities as a client?
As a client, you have a responsibility to the attorney who has accepted your case and made a commitment to represent you. Please follow these suggestions:
- Be on time for all appointments. If you cannot keep your appointment, call and advise the attorney of this fact.
- Bring any papers or documents related to your case when you come for your first appointment.
- Your dealings with your attorney will be confidential, so it is very important that you be completely honest with your attorney at all times. To act in your best interest, your attorney must be aware of all the facts involved in your case to prevent surprises that may hurt you in court or in the course of your legal case.
- Your attorney is representing you free of charge. Always remember that your attorney is a professional whose time is extremely valuable.
- Be on time for all court hearings.
- Let your attorney or Pro Bono know of any changes in your address or phone number. Your attorney must be able to reach you.
- Be active in your case. Keep the lines of communication open by promptly responding to all telephone calls and letters you receive from your attorney. If your attorney has reason to believe that you are no longer interested in pursuing your case, your attorney will close your case.
- If you decide to stop your legal case, you must inform your attorney of your decision.
How can I, as a client, assist the Pro Bono Program?
Your attorney is providing a valuable service. Be sure to let your attorney know you recognize this and remember your responsibilities as a client.
At the end of your case you may receive a questionnaire. Fill it out and return it. This provides us with valuable feedback that will help us improve the program.
Be sure to thank your attorney for the help.
Where is the Westmoreland Pro Bono Program located?
The Westmoreland Pro Bono Program is located at the Westmoreland County Courthouse, 2 North Main Street, Fourth Floor, Greensburg, PA 15601; Telephone: 724.837.5539.