Discretionary appointment of counsel

Legislation, All Basic Human Needs

28 USC 1915(e)(1) states that a federal court "may request an attorney to represent any person unable to afford counsel."  


The Supreme Court has said that this provision does not give a court the authority to "appoint" counsel, but rather can only ask an attorney to serve willingly.  Mallard v. United States District Court, 490 U.S. 296 (1989).  The statute also does not provide for compensation for appointed counsel.


For more on § 1915, see our comprehensive bibliography.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no