Updated: Dec. 11, 2017

Low Bono Section

The Low Bono Section is a community for lawyers, law students, and other professionals who are committed to providing, promoting, and learning about low bono services.

Annual Report
Budget
Bylaws
Info Sheet

What is Low Bono?

In a broad sense, low bono is the principle of increasing access to law-related services for people of moderate means who do not qualify for pro bono assistance, but cannot afford the fees private attorneys typically charge under traditional law firm models. There are opportunities to provide low bono services in the legal profession, and in every other profession that intersects with the delivery of legal services.

Low bono service providers find many creative ways to provide their services, and the list of possibilities continues to grow as practitioners try out new models of service delivery. Some examples of low bono services include:

  • Using flexible pricing models, including sliding-fee scales, flat fees, payment plans, third-party payments, even crowdfunding.
  • Unbundling services.
  • Increasing the efficiency of delivering common services, such as adopting back office technologies and appropriately delegating tasks.
  • Commoditizing certain services, including online service delivery, automated intake, publication of legal guides, self-help kiosks, and document automation for common documents.
  • Mindfully and creatively using clients’ limited legal budgets, such as when crafting discovery requests.
  • Adopting a methodology of client counseling and litigation in which practitioners seek early and affordable resolutions when appropriate, even when it would be more profitable to engage in protracted conflict.

Section Benefits

The greatest benefit of joining the Low Bono Section is the opportunity to build lasting relationships with a community of like-minded professionals. For its members, the Low Bono Section provides a forum and opportunity for education, training, sharing of forms, practice tips, client counseling techniques, and alternative techniques for conflict resolution. The section provides its members with free mentorship opportunities, discounted admission to low bono-oriented CLEs, networking and referral opportunities with other low bono professionals, leadership development opportunities, and more.

Joining the Low Bono Section

The cost to join the Low Bono Section is $30.

Join the Conversation

All professionals with an interest in low bono (lawyers and non-lawyers alike) are invited to join the low bono community discussions on our Yahoo Group. Membership in the section is not currently required to join the Yahoo Group.

Stay informed of Low Bono Section activities on Twitter and Facebook.

The WSBA Low Bono Section has a Yahoo Group for mentorship.

Yahoo! Group Q & A

All Washington professionals with an interest in low bono (lawyers and non-lawyers alike), are invited to join the discussions in our Yahoo! Group list serve. Section membership is not required to join the Yahoo! Group. Click the "join" button here.

1–1 Mentoring Program

We invite members to contact the ExComm if looking for a low bono mentor, and we will do our best to pair you up with an experienced low bono practitioner.

Disclaimer: These resources and opportunities are provided solely for the convenience of section members. No endorsement of any resource, mentor and/or mentorship relationship is intended, and no warranty is made as to the accuracy of the information by either the Washington State Bar Association or the Low Bono Section.

The Money Barrier: 1st Annual Low Bono Law Conference

Many people are "priced out" of the justice system, with incomes too high to qualify for legal aid, but too low to afford an attorney. Can the legal profession do anything about this justice gap? Absolutely!  We can, we are, and you can do it, too. On Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, the WSBA Low Bono Section and Seattle University School of Law CLE held their First Annual Low Bono Law Conference. This full-day CLE explained how to run a flourishing law practice that includes an intentional commitment to serving clients with limited financial resources.

Executive Committee

ChairJohn Varga
Chair-Elect: Celeste Miller
SecretaryJohn Varga
Treasurer: Vacant
Immediate Past Chair:  Stacie Naczelnik
Young Lawyer LiaisonPer Jansen*
BOG LiaisonChris Meserve*

At-Large Members (term end): 

Veronica Smith-Casem (2017)
Ron Mattson (2019)
Mark Baumann (2019)
Jenny Anderson (2019)
Clay Wilson (2018)
Mikel Sagoian (2017)
Forrest Carlson (2019)
Jessica Lewis (2018)
Elena Yager (2018)
Dayna Ducey (2019)
vacant
vacant

Non-Lawyer Members*

Barbara Esselstrom (2018)
Pete Roberts (2018)

Law Student Positions:*

Kendel Froese (University of Washington)
vacant (Seattle University)
vacant (Gonzaga University)

*Non-voting member

Please contact subcommittee member for details on their upcoming meeting dates and locations.

If you have questions about the Low Bono Section, contact any member of the Section's Executive Committee. For all other inquiries, contact sections@wsba.org.