Pro Bono Is Pro, Low Bono is Low: Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Lawyers’ Legal Aid Participation

35 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2019 Last revised: 3 Jun 2020

See all articles by Ching-Fang Hsu

Ching-Fang Hsu

University of Toronto

Kan-Hsueh Chiang

European Doctorate in Law & Economics, University of Rotterdam, University of Hamburg, University of Bologna, University of Haifa; The European Doctorate in Law & Economics

Yun-chien Chang

Academia Sinica - Institutum Iurisprudentiae (IIAS)

Date Written: June 3, 2020

Abstract

This article develops a theory on the legal profession’s participation in providing services to indigent clients. Our theory is based on two factors: whether lawyers have successful practices, and whether the legal aid delivered to indigent clients is free or below market price. Pro bono signals moral high ground in the profession. Conversely, a regime in which legal assistance is provided at a discounted market price, an under-explored area in the literature, attracts less competitive attorneys, and doing legal aid cases is perceived as signifying incompetence in professional capacity. Using a unique, comprehensive data set on all legal aid lawyers in Taiwan (nearly 4,000), two nationwide attorney surveys, and 143 in-depth interviews with practicing lawyers across the country, we offer the first comprehensive empirical analysis of legal aid lawyers and explain that the design of a legal aid regime attracts lawyers of different hemispheres into the endeavor.

Keywords: Legal aid, pro bono, low bono, legal profession, attorney surveys, access to justice

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Hsu, Ching-Fang and Chiang, Kan-Hsueh and Chiang, Kan-Hsueh and Chang, Yun-chien, Pro Bono Is Pro, Low Bono is Low: Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Lawyers’ Legal Aid Participation (June 3, 2020). NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 19-24, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3334506 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3334506

Ching-Fang Hsu

University of Toronto ( email )

Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G8
Canada

Kan-Hsueh Chiang

European Doctorate in Law & Economics, University of Rotterdam, University of Hamburg, University of Bologna, University of Haifa ( email )

Mount Carmel
Haifa, 31905
Israel

The European Doctorate in Law & Economics ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
PO Box 1738
Rotterdam
Netherlands

Yun-chien Chang (Contact Author)

Academia Sinica - Institutum Iurisprudentiae (IIAS) ( email )

128 Academia Sinica Rd., Sec. 2
Nankang
Taipei City, 11529
Taiwan

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
144
Abstract Views
1,078
rank
272,855
PlumX Metrics