- Australia facing means crunch for legal representation.
- Limited-scope legal representations, or unbundled legal services, allow people with limited resources to seek redress.
- Many Arkansans face similar difficulty paying for legal fees.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Make no mistake, availing yourself of top-notch legal representation is not inexpensive. Knowledge, experience, and familiarity of the judicial system — those things come with a price, and that price can be hefty, especially to Arkansans of limited means.
And it’s not only in Arkansas and the United States this is true.
A story from Queensland, Australia, published by the Sunshine Coast Daily, “Price of justice too high for our poor”, highlights that nation’s struggle to ensure access to its judicial system for all of its residents.
The story notes legal aid centers turn away 170,000 people each year and suggests that only about two out of every three people who need legal representation receive it. According to the story, Australia’s economics work out to where a single-income couple with two children earning $48,100 per year or a single parent with two children earning more than $37,960 per year would be ineligible for free legal aid.
Out of that need has arisen limited-scope legal representation, the unbundling of legal services, in which an attorney performs only some services in a given case, while the client himself/herself handles other aspects. These “alternative fee structures” lower the cost of legal representation and allow those who would have no other recourse to pursue their claim.
Attorney Lisa G. Douglas of North Little Rock said the United States is not alone in having a legal system that does not fully serve those of limited means.
“A working family in Arkansas might bring in $50,000 a year, but after paying for a place to live and clothes for the children and food for the family, there isn’t a lot left over if an unfortunate circumstance leads to a situation requiring the assistance of an attorney,” she contended. “In these cases, limited-scope representation can be the only way these families would be able to proceed with their action.”
If you or someone you know has a potential cause of action but is unsure of how to proceed, contact the Law Office of Lisa G. Douglas: 2300 Main Street, North Little Rock, AR 72114; (501) 798-0004, 24 hours a day; or online,www.lisagdouglas.com.