Lackawanna Pro Bono Inc., assisted it’s 1,000th clients in May 2004. The program puts needy clients in touch with lawyers who will work for free. The case involved drawing up a power of attorney.
The Lackawanna Pro Bono, Inc. program, operating since October 1997, is one of three organizations that provides lawyers free-of-charge to Lackawanna County residents. North Penn Legal Services, like Lackawanna Pro Bono, deals exclusively with civil cases — everything from landlord/tenant disputes to protection-from-abuse orders. The county public defender's office handles only criminal defendants charged with crimes serious enough that they may go to jail.
Sylvia H. Hahn, Lackawanna Pro Bono’s executive director and notes that the bar association works closely with Pro Bono and pays for some of its work, explaining that both Lackawanna Pro Bono and North Penn Legal Services only accept clients who make 125-percent or less of federal poverty guidelines — or just under $20,000 a year for a single parent with two children.
About 60-percent of Lackawanna Pro Bono’s clients are female heads of households. Approximately one-quarter of the total clients are employed, one-quarter are on disability and one-half are on unemployment, other support or have no income at all.