Recently, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) adopted recommendations on improving the availability of legal assistance. Developed by a special committee chaired by David M. Godfrey, a Senior Attorney at the ABA Commission on Law and Aging, the recommendations aim to “support the provision of legal services to older Americans and persons with disabilities or special needs who cannot afford a private attorney.”
The recommendations include a pro bono component, specifically:
- Using program presentations and articles in publications, encourage members to provide at least 50 hours per year of legal services without expectation of a fee or at a substantially reduced fee, consistent with the NAELA Aspirational Standards;
- Establish a baseline of data by surveying NAELA members asking the number of hours of pro bono service in the past year;
- Include annual reporting of pro bono service as part of annual dues renewal;
- Honor members who report 50 or more hours per year by designating them in the NAELA directory as “Pro Bono Honoree;”
- Recognize exceptional pro bono service by NAELA members by presenting annual NAELA pro bono public service awards that recognize service by solo and small firms, mid-size and large firms, as well as an award for special impact or outcome of pro bono representation by a NAELA member;
- The public service and pro bono awards will be determined by a special committee appointed annually by the NAELA president for the limited purpose of determining the awardees based on exceptional service or impact of pro bono service.
Read more about NAELA and the special committee’s recommendations in this month’s Bifocal.