Pro Bono Law
Pro Bono, is Latin for “for the [public] good.” In the legal world, the term usually applies to the provision of legal services free of charge to those who could not otherwise afford attorney fees. Over the years, and especially during the last several decades, pro bono legal service has gained in popularity and expanded beyond the more traditional areas of public interest law.
Once considered charity work, many states have imposed ethical requirements on attorneys requiring a certain amount of pro bono work each year. For this reason, attorneys are now responsible for providing more public service and charity than virtually any other profession in America. In fact, dollar for dollar, attorneys donate more to charitable works than many tax-supported charitable organizations!
Despite the requirements for annual pro bono work, and the great benefits this has conferred to indigent clients, it is not without its problems. Confusion over the limits of responsibility to non-paying clients, potential conflicts of interests, and concerns over diminished quality of work for pro bono clients are but a few of the challenges facing pro bono lawyering in America.
The resources below will provide more information on pro bono legal services, the legal and ethical requirements, and information about how you may be able to find an attorney in your area who can assist you with your case on a pro bono basis.
US - Legal Aid / Pro Bono Law by State
Articles About Pro Bono Law
Pro Bono Law - US
- ABA - Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service
The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service is the national source of information, resources and assistance to support, facilitate, and expand the delivery of pro bono legal assistance. The Standing Committee and its project, the Center for Pro Bono, encourage lawyers to do pro bono work and help them connect with opportunities that meet their needs. Our programs, projects and services help pro bono programs, advocates and policymakers address the legal needs of the poor.
- Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act
The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act or Serve America Act (H.R. 1388) expands the AmeriCorps program first established in 1993. It was signed by President Obama on April 21, 2009.
- Pro Bono - Wikipedia
Pro bono publico (usually shortened to pro bono) is a phrase derived from Latin meaning "for the public good". The term is generally used to describe professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment as a public service. It is common in the legal profession and is increasingly seen in marketing, technology, and strategy consulting firms. Pro bono service, unlike traditional volunteerism, uses the specific skills of professionals to provide services to those who are unable to afford them.
Organizations Related to Pro Bono Law
- DOJ - EOIR Legal Orientation and Pro Bono Program
Since 2003, EOIR has carried out the Legal Orientation Program (LOP) to improve judicial efficiency and assist all parties in detained removal proceedings - detained aliens, the immigration court, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the detention facility. Experience has shown that detained individuals make wiser decisions and are more likely to obtain representation, non-profit organizations reach a wider audience of people with minimal resources, and cases are more likely to be completed faster, resulting in fewer court hearings and less time spent in detention.
LawHelp.org has been created for people living on low-incomes and the legal organizations that serve them. LawHelp.org provides referrals to local legal aid and public interest law offices, basic information about legal rights, self-help information, court information, links to social service agencies, and more in your state.
- Lawyers Without Borders
Lawyers Without Borders is the world's largest group of volunteer lawyers from around the globe who stand ready to offer pro bono service to international projects and initiatives. Our goal is to provide legal support to Rule of Law projects and initiatives in the human rights and global capacity building sectors; this is achieved using lawyers serving pro bono whenever possible. This approach has proven to exponentially reduce costs to funders, in-country NGOs and legal communities in developing regions around the world.
- Military Pro Bono Project
The American Bar Association's Military Pro Bono Project connects active-duty military personnel and their families to free legal assistance for civil legal issues beyond the scope of services provided by a military legal assistance office. The Project accepts case referrals for limited civil-law matters on behalf of income-eligible service members from military legal assistance offices worldwide, and then places these cases with volunteer pro bono attorneys anywhere in the United States the legal representation is needed.
- Pro Bono Institute (PBI)
Founded in 1996, the Pro Bono Institute (PBI) is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization. With an unparalleled depth of knowledge, resources and expertise, PBI is the respected resource for all things pro bono. Through our work with law firms, in-house corporate legal departments, and public interest organizations, PBI is the global thought leader in exploring, identifying, evaluating, catalyzing, and taking to scale new approaches to and resources for the provision of legal services to the poor, disadvantaged, and other individuals or groups unable to secure legal assistance to address critical problems.
- Pro Bono Net
Pro Bono Net is a national nonprofit organization based in New York City and San Francisco. We work in close partnership with nonprofit legal organizations across the United States and Canada, to increase access to justice for the millions of poor people who face legal problems every year without help from a lawyer. We do this by (i) supporting the innovative and effective use of technology by the nonprofit legal sector, (ii) increasing participation by volunteers, and (iii) facilitating collaborations among nonprofit legal organizations and advocates working on similar issues or in the same region.