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Attending to the Legal Needs of the Poor

The editorial "Meeting the Poor's Legal Needs," Jan. 27, strikes a responsive chord. During this time of national debate regarding health care, it is disturbing that legal care is a nonissue. Most Americans would probably agree that access to legal advice and counsel is indeed an inherent "right."

Nowhere in the editorial is mention made of the failure of the legal profession itself to provide more than lip service to pro bono service. In my professional practice, as many as one-third of office visits are either nonreimbursable or reimbursable only at a very low level. I would challenge the legal profession to recognize that the ethics of a professional preclude dispensing service strictly on the basis of ability to pay. Douglas M. De Long, M.D., Ladysmith, Wis.

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