By Nancy Lopez
Two years ago, we began Looking into Low Bono, a series of events exploring ways to expand access to justice for clients of modest means. As part of that process, we examined service models from around the country, heard from other low bono experts, and learned from established initiatives in other jurisdictions. In response, attendees took action—they formed an independent working group and worked hard to bring low bono solutions to Washington, DC.
Today, we’re proud to introduce the DC Reduced Fee Lawyer & Mediator Referral Service, which connects qualified providers with clients who need affordable lawyers and mediators. As a pilot, the Referral Service is creating an online directory of pre-screened lawyers willing to accept modest-means clients (incomes within 200–400% of the federal poverty guidelines) who will agree to pay hourly fees of $75–$150.
Modest-means clients can use the service to view a list of reduced fee practitioners who may be available to represent or advise them on a broad range of legal matters. The Referral Service will also supply practitioners with helpful resources, such as guidelines for income screening, a model retainer with fee provisions, and suggestions for sharing cost information with clients.
If you’re interested in joining the directory, initial nominations will be accepting between October 1 and December 1. A second application period will open in spring 2017. If you have any questions, please email DCReducedFeelawyers@gmail.com.
Learn more and apply to join the directory: www.dcreducedfeelawyers.org
Finally, please share this information with other lawyers, listservs, or groups who may be interested in learning more about this new service. On social media, you can use the hashtag #lowbono.
We wish great success to this new initiative, and we look forward to helping connect experienced lawyers with modest-means clients who need help!
Nancy Lopez is our Executive Director. You can follow her on Twitter at @NancyLopezWCL.