Pro Bono Publico

Pro Bono Publico in the United States

Latin for the “public good” or “welfare.” The term Pro Bono Publico refers to attorneys donating their time to represent indigent parties in civil matters. Lawyers represent indigent clients pro bono as a way of meeting a perceived obligation of the profession to make legal services available to those who could not otherwise afford counsel.

See Also

Legal Services Corporation (Civil Process) Public Defender (Civil Process).

Analysis and Relevance

While the legal profession has acknowledged a public interest dimension to the practice of law, pro bono representation grew most substantially as a by-product of court rulings requiring appointment of counsel in criminal cases with indigent defendants. The amount of time made available pro bono is insufficient to meet the demand. This has been especially true since funding for the Legal Services Corporation has diminished. Beyond actual representation of indigent clients, the term pro bono includes legal work aimed at advancing public interest positions or causes.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Pro Bono Publico from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Resources

See Also

  • Legal Topics.
  • Further Reading (Articles)

    PRO BONO PUBLICO MAKES $15,000 DONATION TO NORD FOUNDATION., States News Service; May 9, 2012

    American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Awards Honor 3 Lawyers, a Law Firm and a State Supreme Court System, States News Service; August 6, 2012

    Pro Bono Publico: Voluntary service and mandatory reporting, The Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics; July 1, 2002; Isbell, Kellie Sawle, Sarah

    Valdespino wins 2003 ABA Pro Bono Publico Award., Florida Bar News; June 1, 2003

    American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Awards Honor Three Lawyers, a Law Firm and a State Supreme Court System, States News Service; July 2, 2012

    Aba Honors 3 Lawyers, Law Firm and Corporation with Pro Bono Publico Awards, States News Service; July 8, 2013

    Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services Seeks Nominations for 2013 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards, States News Service; May 28, 2013

    Blackwell Wins ABA Pro Bono Publico Award, Florida Bar News; September 1, 2013

    SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT STANDING COMMITTEE ON PRO BONO LEGAL SERVICES SEEKS NOMINATIONS FOR 2011 ADAMS PRO BONO PUBLICO AWARDS., States News Service; June 2, 2011

    AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION HONORS O’MELVENY AND MYERS LLP WITH 2011 PRO BONO PUBLICO AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING SERVICE., States News Service; June 27, 2011

    AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION HONORS JAY ZAINEY WITH 2011 PRO BONO PUBLICO AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING SERVICE., States News Service; June 27, 2011

    SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT STANDING COMMITTEE ON PRO BONO LEGAL SERVICES INVITES NOMINATIONS FOR 2007 ADAMS PRO BONO PUBLICO AWARDS, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; March 6, 2007

    SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT STANDING COMMITTEE ON PRO BONO LEGAL SERVICES INVITES NOMINATIONS FOR ADAMS PRO BONO PUBLICO AWARDS, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; March 21, 2006

    AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION HONORS PAUL, WEISS, RIFKIND, WHARTON AND GARRISON WITH 2011 PRO BONO PUBLICO AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING SERVICE., States News Service; June 27, 2011

    Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Pro Bono Committee Honors Mintz Levin with 2011 Adams Pro Bono Publico Award., Real Estate Weekly News; November 11, 2011

    Attorneys, Law Firm Receive 2012 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards, States News Service; October 24, 2012

    SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT STANDING COMMITTEE ON PRO BONO LEGAL SERVICES PRESENTS THREE ADAMS PRO BONO PUBLICO AWARDS, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; June 5, 2007

    Attorneys, Law Firm to Receive 2012 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards, States News Service; October 12, 2012

    SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT STANDING COMMITTEE ON PRO BONO LEGAL SERVICES TO PRESENT ADAMS PRO BONO PUBLICO AWARDS, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; June 6, 2006

    Volyn awarded for pro bono work.(KEEPING UP WITH PEOPLE)(Scott Volyn)(Pro Bono Publico Service Commendation)(Brief article), Wenatchee Business Journal; September 1, 2007

    Pro Bono Publico: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

    Federal Primary Materials

    The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Pro Bono Publico. This part provides references, in relation to Pro Bono Publico, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

    Federal primary materials about Pro Bono Publico by content types:

    Laws and Regulations

    US Constitution
    Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

    Federal Case Law and Court Materials

    U.S. Courts of Appeals
    United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

    Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

    Presidential Materials

    Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

    Executive Materials

    Federal Legislative History Materials

    Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Pro Bono Publico and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Pro Bono Publico or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

    State Administrative Materials and Resources

    State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Pro Bono Publico and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Pro Bono Publico. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Pro Bono Publico should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

    State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

    State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Pro Bono Publico when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

    Tools and Forms

    Law in Other Regions

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