QOD: What would NEO be like if all lawyers here each did their 50 hours of pro bono work a year, and never sheltered corruption?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 11/22/2010 - 00:59.
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In 2007 there were 1,143,358  Lawyers in the United States, which had a population of 303 million people, representing 265 people per lawyer in America. That would indicate that the 16 counties of Northeast Ohio (Ashland, Ashtabula, Carroll, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit, Trumbull and Wayne counties), with a population of 4.5 million people, have approximately 17,000 lawyers.

Thus, Northeast Ohio's 17,000 lawyers should be providing at least 850,000 hours of pro bono work to this community... let's round that up to 1 million hours.

According to the ABA Model Rule 6.1, "Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay. A lawyer should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono publico legal services per year." "EC 2-25 stated that the "basic responsibility for providing legal services for those unable to pay ultimately rests upon the individual lawyer . . .. Every lawyer, regardless of professional prominence or professional work load, should find time to participate in serving the disadvantaged." EC 8-9 stated that "[t] he advancement of our legal system is of vital importance in maintaining the rule of law . . . [and] lawyers should encourage, and should aid in making, needed changes and improvements." EC 8-3 stated that "[t] hose persons unable to pay for legal services should be provided needed services.""

Based on review of the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation website it is my understanding few lawyers aspire to meet this rule of their ABA in Ohio. From their reporting of Ohio Supreme Court expectations for Ohio lawyers to provide Pro Bono services, and the lack of participation by lawyers:

In its 2007 Statement Regarding the Provision of Pro Bono Legal Services by Ohio Lawyers, the Supreme Court of Ohio announced it would, in conjunction with the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation (OLAF), “develop a means by which Ohio lawyers may report voluntarily and anonymously their pro bono activities and financial support for legal aid programs.”

In early January, 2010, the Court delivered by email to all attorneys maintaining an active registration in Ohio, and who provided to the Court’s Attorney Services Division an email address, an invitation to report, voluntarily and anonymously, pro bono activities for calendar year 2009. The email included a link to an external website designed and maintained by OLAF, where attorneys choosing to participate entered information about pro bono service, financial support for organizations providing legal services to persons of limited means, and limited demographic information.

Seven percent (7%) of the attorneys who received the Court’s electronic invitation chose to report information about pro bono service and financial support of legal aid programs, a drop of five percent from one year ago.

Among the attorneys choosing to report, 66.1% reported pro bono service.

What insensitivity. What unprofessional behavior. What failure to live to the standards of a profession - a profession that puts people in jail for life.

it would be worth measuring the ACTUAL level of PRO BONO compliance here and demanding better performance from those within the legal community (judges have called for such things in other communities). Certainly, if all the talented lawyers in the region actually provided nearly a million hours of pro bono work to help those in need, this community would be far less in need.

Especially as this rule allows pro bono work to include "participation in activities for improving the law, the legal system or the legal profession."

Especially as today's Cleveland.com featured extensive coverage of the long-time total incompetency and criminal behavior of lawyers in the office of County Prosecutor Bill Mason, which should never have been allowed by the legal community here. And this is just the tip of the injustice that evil man has caused this community, with the full support of 100% of the community's 17,000 lawyers (I've never heard one complaint from one).

And the lawyers so all in the know here have universally supported the entire corrupt power structure here, as it stands... funded it with their contributions and fund-raisers... ate from their banquets. In fact, many of the people at the core of the corruption here, like County Commissioner Jones, are Ivy League lawyers themselves.

I wonder how many hours of pro bono work our lawyers in politics and sitting on our benches - lecturing in our law schools - actually do each year. I wonder if the concept of pro bono is even part of the pledge they have taken in life.

Lawyers have advanced degrees and are supposed to be of the highest intelligence, honorable, and insightful to facts. If all the lawyers in the region bothered to take their heads out of their corner offices for one hour, pro bono, and compared notes on the criminal behavior of our leadership here, and sent email about that to the FBI... or logged onto realNEO and told the truth, there would be no corruption in Northeast Ohio. They know where ALL the bodies are burried, and who is covering them up.

Most important, they know who is crooked.

All citizens really needed was 17,000 hours of free, open honesty from the lawyers in town... they could have spent their other 833,000 pro bono hours a year playing golf in sprawlburbia, and dining at Lola's, and citizens still would have been well served.

Instead, citizens got the worst leadership and corruption in America, right before the watchful but unseeing eyes of 17,000 enabling lawyers, who certainly do not meet the standards of their pledges to the American Bar Association, and it shows.

 

 

ABA MODEL RULE 6.1 VOLUNTARY PRO BONO PUBLICO SERVICE

Policies - Voluntary Pro Bono Publico Service

 

ABA Model Rule 6.1 Table of State Ethics Rules Standards for Pro Bono Programs Emeritus Attorney Rules Pro Bono Reporting CLE Credit for Doing Pro Bono

 

Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay. A lawyer should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono publico legal services per year. In fulfilling this responsibility, the lawyer should:

(a) provide a substantial majority of the (50) hours of legal services without fee or expectation of fee to:

(1) persons of limited means or

(2) charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters which are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means; and

(b) provide any additional services through:

(1) delivery of legal services at no fee or substantially reduced fee to individuals, groups or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties or public rights, or charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters in furtherance of their organizational purposes, where the payment of standard legal fees would significantly deplete the organization's economic resources or would be otherwise inappropriate;

(2) delivery of legal services at a substantially reduced fee to persons of limited means; or

(3) participation in activities for improving the law, the legal system or the legal profession.

In addition, a lawyer should voluntarily contribute financial support to organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means.

Comment

[1] Every lawyer, regardless of professional prominence or professional workload, has a responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay, and personal involvement in the problems of the disadvantaged can be one of the most rewarding experiences in the life of a lawyer. The American Bar Association urges all lawyers to provide a minimum of 50 hours of pro bono services annually. States, however, may decide to choose a higher or lower number of hours of annual service (which may be expressed as a percentage of a lawyer's professional time) depending upon local needs and local conditions. It is recognized that in some years a lawyer may render greater or fewer hours than the annual standard specified, but during the course of his or her legal career, each lawyer should render on average per year, the number of hours set forth in this Rule. Services can be performed in civil matters or in criminal or quasi-criminal matters for which there is no government obligation to provide funds for legal representation, such as post-conviction death penalty appeal cases.

[2] Paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) recognize the critical need for legal services that exists among persons of limited means by providing that a substantial majority of the legal services rendered annually to the disadvantaged be furnished without fee or expectation of fee. Legal services under these paragraphs consist of a full range of activities, including individual and class representation, the provision of legal advice, legislative lobbying, administrative rule making and the provision of free training or mentoring to those who represent persons of limited means. The variety of these activities should facilitate participation by government lawyers, even when restrictions exist on their engaging in the outside practice of law.

[3] Persons eligible for legal services under paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) are those who qualify for participation in programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation and those whose incomes and financial resources are slightly above the guidelines utilized by such programs but nevertheless, cannot afford counsel. Legal services can be rendered to individuals or to organizations such as homeless shelters, battered women's centers and food pantries that serve those of limited means. The term "governmental organizations" includes, but is not limited to, public protection programs and sections of governmental or public sector agencies.

[4] Because service must be provided without fee or expectation of fee, the intent of the lawyer to render free legal services is essential for the work performed to fall within the meaning of paragraphs (a)(1) and (2). Accordingly, services rendered cannot be considered pro bono if an anticipated fee is uncollected, but the award of statutory lawyers' fees in a case originally accepted as pro bono would not disqualify such services from inclusion under this section. Lawyers who do receive fees in such cases are encouraged to contribute an appropriate portion of such fees to organizations or projects that benefit persons of limited means.

[5] While it is possible for a lawyer to fulfill the annual responsibility to perform pro bono services exclusively through activities described in paragraphs (a)(1) and (2), to the extent that any hours of service remained unfulfilled, the remaining commitment can be met in a variety of ways as set forth in paragraph (b). Constitutional, statutory or regulatory restrictions may prohibit or impede government and public sector lawyers and judges from performing the pro bono services outlined in paragraphs (a)(1) and (2). Accordingly, where those restrictions apply, government and public sector lawyers and judges may fulfill their pro bono responsibility by performing services outlined in paragraph (b).

[6] Paragraph (b)(1) includes the provision of certain types of legal services to those whose incomes and financial resources place them above limited means. It also permits the pro bono lawyer to accept a substantially reduced fee for services. Examples of the types of issues that may be addressed under this paragraph include First Amendment claims, Title VII claims and environmental protection claims. Additionally, a wide range of organizations may be represented, including social service, medical research, cultural and religious groups.

[7] Paragraph (b)(2) covers instances in which lawyers agree to and receive a modest fee for furnishing legal services to persons of limited means. Participation in judicare programs and acceptance of court appointments in which the fee is substantially below a lawyer's usual rate are encouraged under this section.

[8] Paragraph (b)(3) recognizes the value of lawyers engaging in activities that improve the law, the legal system or the legal profession. Serving on bar association committees, serving on boards of pro bono or legal services programs, taking part in Law Day activities, acting as a continuing legal education instructor, a mediator or an arbitrator and engaging in legislative lobbying to improve the law, the legal system or the profession are a few examples of the many activities that fall within this paragraph.

[9] Because the provision of pro bono services is a professional responsibility, it is the individual ethical commitment of each lawyer. Nevertheless, there may be times when it is not feasible for a lawyer to engage in pro bono services. At such times a lawyer may discharge the pro bono responsibility by providing financial support to organizations providing free legal services to persons of limited means. Such financial support should be reasonably equivalent to the value of the hours of service that would have otherwise been provided. In addition, at times it may be more feasible to satisfy the pro bono responsibility collectively, as by a firm's aggregate pro bono activities.

[10] Because the efforts of individual lawyers are not enough to meet the need for free legal services that exists among persons of limited means, the government and the profession have instituted additional programs to provide those services. Every lawyer should financially support such programs, in addition to either providing direct pro bono services or making financial contributions when pro bono service is not feasible.

[11] Law firms should act reasonably to enable and encourage all lawyers in the firm to provide pro bono legal services called for by this Rule.

[12] The responsibility set forth in this Rule is not intended to be enforced through disciplinary process.

Model Code Comparison

There was no counterpart of this Rule in the Disciplinary Rules of the Model Code. EC 2-25 stated that the "basic responsibility for providing legal services for those unable to pay ultimately rests upon the individual lawyer . . .. Every lawyer, regardless of professional prominence or professional work load, should find time to participate in serving the disadvantaged." EC 8-9 stated that "[t] he advancement of our legal system is of vital importance in maintaining the rule of law . . . [and] lawyers should encourage, and should aid in making, needed changes and improvements." EC 8-3 stated that "[t] hose persons unable to pay for legal services should be provided needed services."

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Instead, "Lawyer charged in corruption probe"

Instead, "Lawyer charged in corruption probe"

Who should the people of Northeast Ohio trust, ever, here?

Disrupt IT

Pro Bono Attorneys in Northeast Ohio....A Comedy of Errs

Okay.... The Court System in Cuyahoga County is designed to defeat the poor, use them as quotas, and build a bigger government without consideration for their impoverishment, for their indigence, or for the KEY FACTORS of CORRUPTION and systematic ABUSES that have put the citizens of our county into a complete TRICK BAG of SOCIAL INJUSTICE at almost every corner of the spectrum....

Cleveland METROPOLITAN BAR ASSOCIATION.....COLLUSION....

TRAFFIC COURT: 

THE JUDGE ACTUALLY ARGUED WITH ME ABOUT WHY I WAS UNABLE TO MAKE PAYMENT ARRANGEMENTS AS I WAS NOT EVEN WORKING AND THE MENIAL MONEY I WAS RECEIVING WAS NOT ENOUGH TO PAY A THIRD OF THE BILLS? SHE TOLD ME IN FRONT OF A COURT ROOM OF PEOPLE THAT THE COURT COULD NOT STAY IN BUSINESS IF THEY GAVE EVERYONE COMMUNITY SERVICE!!!! ARE YOU FRICKEN KIDDING ME!???!!! I JUST KEPT REQUESTING COMMUNITY SERVICE DESPITE HER ATTEMPTS TO LOWER A TRAFFIC FINE....AND I REPEATED THE LEGITIMATE REASONS FOR MY "LACK OF FUNDS TO AFFORD THE FINE"....ALL FOR A TRAFFIC TICKET THAT---- A COP WHO WAS NOT ON THE SCENE WHEN I WAS PULLED OVER-- SHOWED UP TO DEFEND... NOW, EVEN THAT FACT WAS OVERLOOKED AND THE NEGOTIATING PROSECUTOR WAS WILLING TO REDUCE THE CHARGES THAT WERE CITED... BUT I GUESS THAT THE 8 HOURS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE WAS WORTH SETTLING THE ALL AROUND JOKE OF BEING PULLED OVER UNDER QUESTIONABLE ISSUES...OH WELL, MORE HUMOR. 

THE 2 MAGISTRATES IN CHILD SUPPORT COURT THAT I BEGGED TO HELP MY CHILD'S FATHER BLEW IT OFF...AND HE'S DEAD NOW. YEP, I BEGGED THEM TO HELP ME TO HELP HIM AND USE HIS CONTEMPT AS AN EXCUSE TO PUT HIM IN JAIL LONG ENOUGH TO HELP HIM THROUGH A DETOX THAT MAY HAVE CHANGED HIS STATUS...BUT THEY WERE TOO AFRAID OF ANOTHER "LAVERT INCIDENT" AND WENT THE OTHER DIRECTION....LETTING HIM SLIP OFF...

THE 1 JUDGE/MAGISTRATE AT CHILD CUSTODY COURT WAS SO HELPFUL SHE TERMINATED HIS CUSTODY RIGHTS AND REFUSED TO "GIVE HIM THAT 30 DAYS SHE THREATENED HIM WITH IF HE BROKE THE RULES AGAIN...." WOW...HE'S DEAD NOW, SO ALL OF MY EFFORTS TO BEG ANY JUDGE TO ENFORCE THEIR OWN RULES OF ENGAGEMENT FELL BY THE WAYSIDE. BUT, IT'S NOT THEIR JOBS TO SAVE LIVES---EVEN WHEN PARTIES ARE BEGGING FOR INTERVENTION.

THANKS BE TO GOD FOR OUR WONDERFUL SYSTEM IN CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OHIO! 

HOW ABOUT THAT JUDGE WHO GAVE A HANOUS CHILD MURDERER (MY BROTHER'S MURDERER)....A YEAR AND LET HIM OFF EASY BACK IN 1973....DURING THE BEST OF THE CORRUPTION???? PLEASE CUYAHOGA COUNTY PUBLIC SERVANTS WHO'VE ENJOYED THE PLEASURES OF HELPING OUT YOUR BUDDIES ALL ALONG---PLEASE HUMOR ME SOME MORE!!!

pro bono attorneys...where are they???? THEY JUST GET TO PICK AND CHOOSE! HAHAHA...... But you can probably find them living large and picking and  choosing how much time they contribute to the poor and community at large!!!!

HOW ABOUT WE BE THE FIRST TO TRACK PRO BONO CASES BY ALL REGISTERED ATTORNEYS' IN THE STATE OF OHIO???? WHO ACTUALLY TRACKS THOSE PRO BONO CASES???? HUMOR. THE HONOR SYSTEM ONLY WORKS FOR THE CORRUPT.....AND I HEAR THAT THERE IS NO HONOR AMONG THIEVES!!!! HAHAHHA ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST! 

The whole system and all the comfort zones of the public servant system of Cuyahoga County, Ohio deserves to be brought to its knees....the few and the proud deservingly NON CORRUPT folks should be allowed to be rehired...all the rest deserve to be discharged from their positions.

Screw that buddy system of corruption and pay to play that has abused citizens for generations. Screw all the players that broke the rules and violated public trust. Screw them all....

Give those corrupt mother flowers a life sentence of kissing the asses of the people they violated. Give those corrupt mother flowers the shaft and rape them of their "pseudo" dignity and pride. Wipe the smirks, gentrification, and smug condescending "know it all" attitude off their faces. Humiliate them and disempower them until they are no more...

I cannot help but to salute the investigators and thank God that they finally started to disempower these comically ugly, disengenous, and undermining fools who thought that they were actually doing something for our community while they violated every human being in our community both directly and indirectly. God Bless the people who put their names, lives, and the interests of the public at large in front of their very own. Thank you all. And to the mother flowers who deserve to be annihilated-0--GOD WILL GET YOU ALL....So, keep looking over your shoulders, hiding your faces, and living in the shame you earned!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR CUYAHOGA COUNTY! 

 

I can genuinely say that I was very pleased with a couple of LEGAL AID SOCIETY reps about their work recently....I salute the cases that do get assistance...but there are far more cases and families that get DENIED assistance because there are too few families who can afford the costs of an attorney.... and by the way...

HEY YOU INEXPERIENCED ATTORNEYS OF NORTHEAST OHIO.... IF YOU TAKE ON A LOW INCOME CLIENT, YOU COULD SAVE TONS OF MONEY FOR BOTH THEM AND YOUR FEES IF YOU WOULD USE THE AVAILABLE POVERTY AFFIDAVITS THAT WAIVE THE FILING FEES FOR CASES...BUT APPARENTLY SO MANY OF YOU ARE NOT USED TO ACTUALLY DOING BUSINESS ON BEHALF OF THE POOR THAT YOU FAIL TO REALIZE THAT THIS "poverty affidavit" IS MEANT TO MAKE LEGAL REPRESENTATION AFFORDABLE FOR CLIENTS!!!! 

AWWW...WHAT A JOKE OUR COUNTY HAS BEEN OVER THE LAST SEVERAL GENERATIONS..... CORRUPT BEYOND WORDS....BUT DON'T PISS OFF THE WRONG PERSON OR YOU WILL FACE SOME HUGE BACKLASHING FROM THE POLITICALLY CONNECTED...EVERYTHING FROM GETTING THOSE CITY INSPECTORS SENT OUT TO CODE ENFORCE TO DENIAL AND DEPRIVATION OF SERVICES...COMICAL!!!

YES, I AM PROUD TO BE "CRAZY" ENOUGH TO SPEAK THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT GOES ON IN OUR TOWN....IT'S TIME THESE SOCIAL INJUSTICES BE CLEANED UP! THANKS GUYS FOR FINALLY CHANGING THE PLAYING GROUND!!! 

oKAY....HOW ABOUT WE MAKE IT AN ORC THAT THEY MUST REPORT

SCREW THE HONOR SYSTEM..... LET'S PETITION A LAW THAT FORCES ATTORNEYS LICENSED IN OHIO TO REPORT ANNUALLY OR LOSE THEIR LICENSE TO PRACTICE FOR 5 YEARS FOR EVERY YEAR THAT THEY FAIL TO REPORT.....YEPPERS....BET THEY WOULDN'T BE MISSING THOSE DEADLINES THEN...AND IF THEY ARE LATE-THE FINE SHOULD BE LIKE $1,000.00 PER DAY FOR BEING LATE...UP TO THE FIRST 30 DAYS LATE....WITHOUT  ANY WAIVERS... AND SUSPENSION OF LICENSE TO PRACTICE LAW IN OUR STATE FOR 5 YEARS IF NO REPORT HAS BEEN FILED BY THE 30TH DAY AFTER DUE. ??? OH YEH....WE SHOULD ALSO CHARGE THEM AN ANNUAL FEE OF LIKE $50.00 TO FILE THAT REPORT...THOSE FUNDS SHOULD THEN BE REDISTRIBUTED TO THE COUNTY LEGAL AID SOCIETY TO ASSIST THE NEEDIEST FAMILIES! 

TOO EASY TO MAKE THESE HONOR CODES INTO LAWS....THE LAWYERS OF OUR GOVERNMENT SYSTEM WOULD NOT DO GOOD IF THEY ACTUALLY HAD TO REPORT THE TRUTH OF THEIR ALLEGED PRO BONO SERVICE!!! AS MANY ATTORNEYS AS THERE ARE LISTED IN CUYAHOGA COUNTY....

SO 93% OF THE ATTORNEYS WERE ABOVE THE HONOR CODE OF REPORTING THEIR PRO BONO SERVICE??? I'D SAY THAT THIS STATISTIC IS ABOUT THE AVERAGE RATE OF CORRUPTION IN CUYAHOGA COUNTY, AS 93/100 PUBLIC SERVANTS HAVE PROBABLY VIOLATED THE PUBLIC TRUST! IT'S SIMILAR TO THE VOTING TRENDS ALL THE SAME...UPWARDS OF OVER 80% DIDN'T VOTE IN SEPTEMBER AND MAY ELECTIONS....

ULMER & BERNE AWARDED OLAF’S 2008 PRESIDENTIAL AWARD

From the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation website, Ulmer and Berne was recognized in 2008 for their pro bono services, including 5,300 hours of pro bono time from their attorneys, in 2007, and a gift of $100,000 to split among the Legal Aid Societies of Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, where Ulmer and Berne had offices, all celebrating their 100th year in business. According to the account of OLAF awarding Ulmer and Berne their Presidential Award for this good service, the firm had 180 attorneys at that time.

5,300/180=29.4 hours per attorney - averaging about 60% of the 50 hours expected of all attorneys (I'd give that a grade of "D").

$100,000/180=$555 per attorney, which is not exceptional... the equivalent of approximately 4 hours of a $135/hour attorney's time.... for many attorneys, less than their hourly rate.

And for this, OLAF found Ulmer and Berne to be the Ohio law firm most deserving of their 2008 Presidential Award... making one wonder how much attorneys at other major firms give back to the community, as per their rule of order.

If Ulber and Berne is best, falling 40% short of expected pro bono service, how bad are the other firms in Northeast Ohio?

ULMER & BERNE AWARDED OLAF’S 2008 PRESIDENTIAL AWARD

Ulmer & Berne - 2008 Recipient

Receiving the Award on behalf of Ulmer & Berne, Alexander M. "Alec" Andrews, Partner-In-Charge of the Columbus Office (center), with OLAF board president Julie Davis (right) and executive director Robert Clyde (left).

"Ulmer & Berne has demonstrated vividly that commitment to pro bono service, and support of legal aid programs, are vital parts of its firm culture," said Julie A. Davis, executive vice president and general counsel to Retail Ventures, Inc., in Columbus, and the Foundation's Board President, in presenting the award to Ulmer & Berne.

Also view our Spring 2008 Just Dealings newsletter, which highlights Ulmer & Berne.

 

Disrupt IT