The Legal Services Corporation’s Board will be in Little Rock on January 30th and 31st for its quarterly meeting. The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is the largest funder of civil legal aid organizations in the nation, distributing federal funds allocated by Congress. As part of its meeting, the LSC will host a series of public events to honor pro bono service and discuss solutions to the justice gap.
This quarter’s featured AR Free Legal Answers volunteer is Paul Bowen. Paul is an attorney and freelance writer in Little Rock. In 2019, he answered sixty one questions, more than any other volunteer in that year! When we asked Paul what motivates him to do pro bono, he cited his faith.
2019 was a banner year for AR Free Legal Answers. The year started with a grant from the Arkansas Bar Foundation to help us let Arkansans know about Free Legal Answers. With that grant we printed printed 10,000 brochures and throughout the year we distributed them at courthouses, shelters, and libraries across the state. That effort paid off with a 53% increase in the number of questions answered by our volunteer attorneys, compared to 2018.
During the fall semester, students at the University of Arkansas School of Law and William H. Bowen School of Law participated in clinics to help low-income Arkansans with their legal questions. Students worked with volunteer attorneys to provide answers to legal questions that had been posted on AR.freelegalanswers.org. The questions were posted by Arkansans who could not otherwise afford legal help. Volunteers answered questions covering a wide variety of legal problems from divorce and custody to landlord-tenant issues.
The Arkansas Supreme Court has added Arkansas to the list of more than 40 states that allow retired and inactive attorneys to provide pro bono legal representation to low-income citizens. In an opinion handed down today, the Court adopted Administrative Order 15.3 permitting attorneys with a license status of retired or voluntary inactive to provide free legal representation under the auspices of a legal aid program. The order’s provisions are effective immediately.