Pro bono attorneys winning costs from opposing party (either pro se or represented)

Asked over 1 year ago - New York, NY

If a pro bono attorney wins fees from an opposing party (who is usually unaware that the attorney is acting pro bono), isn't that the same as the pro bono attorney working on a no-win no-fee basis? Doesn't that undermine the fundamental premise of working pro bono?

Additional information

Neither response seems to answer the question. An attorney can do pro-bono work for a client but get paid by the opposing party if the attorney wins. Sounds like the attorney has a vested interest in representing people Pro Bono in order to extract fees out of someone else. If they are truly pro bono, they would waive fees. But then who would do "Pro Bono" work, right?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Eric Edward Rothstein

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . No. Pro Bono means the lawyer isn't charging the client. If the court awards the lawyer costs or legal fees that doesn't change anything and the client certainly isn't entitled to that money.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases.... more
  2. Louis Lawrence Sternberg

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    Answered . The attorney is permitted to seek fees from the opposing party without charging his or her own client.

    It is always advisable to contact an attorney. For a consultation, please contact my office at 516-669-3295. We... more
  3. Rixon Charles Rafter III

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . No. Just means lawyer didn't charge the client. The court is free to award atty fees. (FYI, I am not a NY atty).

    NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice before the state and... more

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