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Iowa Supreme Court Ask Attorney's to Provide At Least 50 Hours Free Legal Service

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DES MOINES The Iowa Supreme Court on Monday asked the state's attorneys to provide at least 50 hours of free legal services to struggling Iowans who can't afford legal services in the current economic environment.

The justices issued a resolution Monday urging all lawyers to devote at least 50 hours of "pro bono" time and expertise to assist individuals who cannot afford legal counsel. The court also encouraged judges to encourage free legal help by attorneys. "Despite the valiant efforts of Iowa's legal service organizations and thousands of volunteer lawyers, there is a substantial gap between the civil legal needs of those who cannot afford legal services and the resources available to meet those needs," said Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Marsha Ternus in a statement.

"Iowa Legal Aid Services estimates that more than 17,000 people who went to (them) for help were turned away or underserved. Many of those people needed legal assistance to help them secure or maintain basic needs such as housing, health care and safety," she added.

Ternus said the Iowa Supreme Court recognizes and applauds the many Iowa lawyers who provide pro bono service and strongly encourages each Iowa lawyer to volunteer.

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