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Iowa Pro Bono Legal Information, Resources and Assistance

According to Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 6.1(4), legal services rendered cannot be considered pro bono if an anticipated fee is uncollected, but the award of statutory attorneys’ 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.

Iowa Pro Bono Summary: The Iowa State Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project (ISBA VLP) was established in 1989 to improve access to the civil legal system for indigent Iowans. The mission of the organization is to assist low income Iowans by increasing their accessibility to the civil legal system by promoting and encouraging the use of pro bono legal services. To accomplish this, they focus on four major objective areas: recruitment of attorneys, improving legal services to clients, education, and program development. A client who is in need of some type of civil legal assistance can gain access to a volunteer attorney through one of the legal service programs in Iowa. These programs will screen the client for eligibility based on their income and the type of case that it is. When the client is determined eligible, the legal service program makes a decision to serve the client with their staff or to refer the client to a volunteer. Attorneys are matched with clients by one of three programs that provide direct delivery of services.

These programs are:

  • Polk County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project
  • Legal Service Corporation of Iowa Volunteer Lawyers Project, and
  • Pro Bono Project of HELP Legal Assistance/Scott County Bar Association.

Iowa Pro Bono Contacts:

Brett Toresdahl
521 E. Locust,
Suite 302,
Des Moines,
IA 50309
(515) 244-8617
(515) 244-8845

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