I just read Can You Meet the Pro Bono Standard, describing the Minnesota State Bar Association’s new strategy to encourage attorneys in the state to do pro bono. In order to participate, law firms must commit to:1% of a firm’s lawyers’ collective billable hours during the first year toward pro bono, 2% the second year, and 3% the third year if the firm has over 100 lawyers. It’s a great concept and the Center commends The Minnesota State Bar Association for adopting this initiative.
A number of other states encourage attorneys to strive for a deeper commitment to pro bono. The New York State Bar Association acknowledges attorneys who have met the aspirational goal of 50 hours of pro bono through the Empire StateCounsel® Program.
The State Bar of Texas also challenges attorneys to commit to providing pro bono services through the Pro Bono College. Qualification for the Pro Bono College requires an attorney to have performed a minimum of 75 hours of defined legal assistance activities in a year. A nice additional aspect of the Pro Bono College is recognition of paralegals who have given a minimum of 50 hours of eligible pro bono services in a year.
These are all wonderful examples of ways that state bar associations can encourage attorneys to make pro bono participation an integral piece of their professional life. Each recognizes the many attorneys who give generously of their time and is a valuable addition to the recognition of individuals through annual awards.
How does your bar association similarly encourage pro bono participation? Tell us about it in the Comments below.