Representing a litigant who would otherwise be unable to afford a lawyer is part of the legal profession's proud tradition. The pro se docket in the Northern District of Iowa represents a significant percentage of the cases filed each year. This means that, without volunteer lawyers, litigants must navigate the legal process on their own. Such litigants, who often raise important constitutional and civil rights claims, are significantly disadvantaged compared to counseled parties merely because of their indigent status.
A pro bono lawyer who represents a pro se litigant not only ensures equal access to the courts but also is provided with a unique opportunity to hone litigation skills and appear before a federal judge. Depending on the procedural posture of the case, a pro bono lawyer may appear before a federal district judge or magistrate judge, conduct depositions, attend settlement conferences, oppose or file dispositive motions and try cases.
If you are interested in pro bono representation, please contact the Clerk’s Office at: (319) 286-2300 or (712) 233-3900.
POWER Act Presentation
Each year the courts must comply with the Pro bono Work to Empower and Represent Act of 2018 (“POWER Act”). The POWER Act requires courts to promote pro bono legal services that “empower survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and engage citizens in assisting those survivors.” For any judicial district that “contains an Indian tribe or tribal organization,” the POWER Act also directs courts to lead “not less than one public event promoting pro bono legal services . . . in partnership with an Indian tribe or tribal organization with the intent of increasing the provision of pro bono legal services for Indian or Alaska Native victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.”
Again this year, the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa collaborated with the Iowa State Bar Association to provide education on the benefits and need for pro bono services. Pro Bono resources are included in the handout and a recording of the presentation is forthcoming.