Comments
  • T. Lucci June 29, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    There is so much injustice, and many attorneys that say they do pro-bono work; however, when the
    time comes for someone really needing help, there really isn't anyone in this world available to help.
    This goes for all types of cases. The legal fees are so outrageous, and any attorneys working for
    low income clients usually are on the other side instead of the client's side. It sounds like attorney
    Whalen is doing a good job so far, but lets see what happens when people read that he does pro-
    bono work across the nation. Let us see if they are helped or if he can't help, at least refer the clients
    to someone WHO WILL REALLY HELP!

    • LAS_Admin June 30, 2011 at 8:04 am

      Hi T. Lucci,

      I agree with your comments re: pro bono work–on the surface. But there are a few things to keep in mind. First, yes, in an ideal world, there might be free legal help for all. And, to some degree, depending on your legal help needs, there is. But a single attorney can only help so many individuals on his own, and the attorneys we profile in our Lawyers Giving Back columns do a substantial amount of pro bono work and charitable giving. What's interesting by way of comparison, is that the bar (no pun) is set pretty high in terms of the public's expectation of how much lawyers should give freely–however, look at other professions. Would you expect your doctor, accountant, tax preparer, mortgage banker, etc to offer up their services for free? While there are doctors who offer their services gratis on the side, there isn't the same level of expectation from the public that they do so. We're happy when they do, but we don't expect it.

      Secondly, attorneys who handle personal injury cases–cases in which the victim is typically in dire need of medical, financial and legal help and the legal help is often what enables the others to proceed without fear of becoming destitute on top of physically impaired for life (or worse)–work on a contingency basis. And they may work on a case for several years, paying business operating expense out of their own pocket. And that's typically a hefty tab which for many attorneys means dipping into any savings or obtaining loans to stay afloat. I don't know about you, but I'd love to walk into my doctor's office or my tax accountant's and say, "here's the deal; you do my work, and if everything comes out ok and in my favor, then I'll pay you". It doesn't quite work that way though, does it?

      Legal fees for divorce or setting up a trust or other family law needs which typically do invoke an attorney's "billable hour" may appear outrageous at first glance. But compare them to those other professional fees mentioned above that we all willingly, though not happily, pay for. Have you ever gone to the doctor and spent about 12 minutes with him and been charged $400? Sure you have. On paper. You're not as offended because you run the insurance calculation through your mind and think, "ok, well after my $25 copay I'll have to pay maybe $40" (obviously I'm being hypothetical here). You don't stop though to think of how much you've paid in premiums or the larger chunk that your employer has typically paid in premiums. So heck, it seems like squat compared to that lawyer's billable hour, right? And just try going to that same doctor without insurance, or with insurance that his office doesn't accept. Rare is the doctor who'll just let your bill slide or give you a serious break. You may in fact find yourself on a payment plan–with interest! I don't begrudge doctors–and they have their own challenges with health insurance and the state of health care in the US right now. But the public cannot castigate one form of professional service without reflecting upon others.

      Attorney Whalen is doing an incredible job. And he, as well as many other attorneys who give selflessly "below the radar", ought to be commended. Thanks for recognizing that.

  • Lori Thompson October 25, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Can some one help me please. I had my house taken from me. I was tricked and drugged to sign a paper. This man in not a US citizen he is selling my house and a contract on it will close on it the middle of November PLEASE I NEED HELP he took everything I own and threw me on the streets. I can not find anyone to help me I have no money he took everything. I can not even get to legal aid because he contact them and said I was family. Please can someone help me.

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