“Pro bono publico – ‘for the public good’ – not just in the sense of professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment, but in the sense of a public service to those who are unable to afford the services of skilled professionals. It is a noble and necessary calling for all attorneys.”California State Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye (October 2014)
What Is Pro Bono Legal Work?
Pro Bono legal work is when lawyers undertake to represent a client without charge.
Pro Bono work is usually done for low-income clients who could not otherwise afford the specialized services of an attorney.
As stated by the American Bar Association, “when society confers the privilege to practice law on an individual, he or she accepts the responsibility to promote justice and to make justice equally accessible to all people.”
Pro Bono service and promoting justice to all, regardless of income, is an important part of being a lawyer and is an integral part of the work culture at Siniard, Timberlake & League, P.C.
Siniard, Timberlake & League, P.C.
Our specialty is personal injury cases, which can range from motor vehicle collisions, nursing home neglect, and wrongful death, to everything in between. These cases are filed in civil court and the only damages sought are monetary compensation for the harms and losses suffered. We represent clients in these cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that if we are successful, our fee is a percentage of what we earn for the client. Our clients do not have to pay for services upfront and we only get paid when we are successful and collect money for our clients. If there is no recovery, the clients do not typically pay for our representation or expenses.
This contingency fee agreement allows all clients, irrespective of income, to retain our services.
For many areas of the law, a contingency fee is not feasible, or it may be expensive to retain a lawyer to handle a case. This could be a landlord/tenant dispute, a family law matter, property damage dispute, or bankruptcy, just to name a few. In many of these areas of law it can be difficult for low-income clients to obtain counsel. Part of our firm culture is to routinely represent low-income clients in these areas of law where a contingency fee is not available. As attorneys in the community, we feel this public service is part of our duty to promote equal access to justice for all people.
Why Do We Handle Pro Bono Cases?
Partner Heath Brooks became a lawyer because he wanted “to help folks.” When asked “Why do you handle pro bono cases?” Heath responded, “Because sometimes people just need help and sometimes those people don’t have money to hire a lawyer, and at the end of the day, we’re just in the business of helping folks.”
Attorney Julia Aquila, when asked the same question, responded: “Because everyone should have someone on their side.”
In addition to direct representation through pro bono cases, our firm has also worked in conjunction with the Madison County Volunteer Lawyers Program (MCVLP), which is dedicated to Pro Bono service in our local area. Our Founding Partner Tommy Siniard is one of seven local lawyers that originally founded the MCVLP. Managing Partner Michael Timberlake served on the Board of Directors for MCVLP from 2011 to 2019. Currently, firm partner William L. Messervy is serving on the Board of Directors for MCVLP. Additionally, many of our attorneys have been recognized by MCVLP for being top volunteers on an annual basis. In 2014, the Alabama State Bar Association recognized Siniard, Timberlake & League, P.C. as the State’s Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year, citing both the pro bono work of its lawyers and the firm’s support of MCVLP.
Our attorneys are proud to serve on pro bono cases through the Madison County Volunteer Lawyers Program (MCVLP). If you have questions regarding potential pro bono representation in the greater Huntsville-Madison County area, contact the MCVLP to determine whether or not you are eligible and to determine who may be best qualified to assist in your case