The economic downturn in recent years has more people unable to afford an attorney. Hannah Dugan, a Milwaukee lawyer with extensive pro bono experience, says additionally non-profit legal help has fewer dollars to help out. Meanwhile, she says Wisconsin provides no state funding for civil legal services and such federal help has been reduced.
Dugan says government investing in legal representation may actually save money on the back-end.
Census figures show statewide the poverty rate was flat over the past two years at 13 percent. Milwaukee also remained flat over that time with 29.4 percent of its residents in poverty.
Dugan is member of the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission, a panel commission by the state Supreme Court to delve into these issues.