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NY ‘Attorney Emeritus’ Program Prods Baby Boomers to Help Poor

Posted Jan 8, 2010 3:00 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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New York is embarking on a new program that seeks to enlist retired lawyers to provide pro bono legal services for the poor.

Under the “attorney emeritus” program, lawyer volunteers won’t be required to pay for malpractice insurance, and they will be trained and supervised in their work, the New York Times reports. The number of people unable to afford lawyers in New York courts has swelled to 2.1 million a year, the Times says.

The program aims to “fill the gap with volunteer retired lawyers, hoping partly to attract Baby Boomer lawyers who may be ready to slow down but are not keen on full-time golf,” the story says.

Former ABA President Karen J. Mathis pushed the idea of retired volunteer attorneys during her term. In 2007, the ABA House of Delegates passed a resolution calling on states to revamp their ethics rules and bar dues formulas to facilitate service by retired lawyers.

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