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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Litigation support for pro bono cases

Some of Minnesota’s trial lawyers have announced their intention to represent bridge collapse victims pro bono, and I applaud their generosity. But some of these lawyers are from small shops, and even Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi doesn’t grow money on trees (well, maybe it does). No expert witnesses, investigators or other litigation support people have, to my knowledge, stepped forward to say they will work for free.

How can the rest of the legal community support the pro bono lawyers? Should we? Are these cases more important than other pro bono cases that cost money? Are some events to raise funds to pay the costs in order? Should the Minnesota Association for Justice members start washing cars on Saturdays?

On a related note, actor Gary Anderson has announced his interest in supporting the pro bono effort. (MSBA convention attendees will remember him from his excellent portrayal of Clarence Darrow.) Anderson recently told me that he is returning to Minnesota in December and would like to donate a performance as a fundraiser for the litigation costs. I’ll be doing more to get this information to the trial lawyers and see if they want to make that happen. What else can we do?


Anonymous said...

I'm a lit support professional and have worked on a number of pro bono cases in the states, Africa and Cambodia. What is key is getting support from your firm to be allowed to take part. Also, many vendors would jump at the chance to work pro bono if it means an entry into a firm they are trying to get into. Just my two cents....Shannon Bales LEXLAW69@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Also, most lit support dept's don't have the capacity to be able to lend people for weeks or months on end. However, a forward thinking firm would place mid/JR people in a pro bono case for valuable work experience and to obtain credibility in house.