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Pro Bono Service and Reporting

In response to a need for legal services to the poor, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that lawyers should aspire to do 20 hours of pro bono work a year or contribute $350 to a legal aid organization. Although this goal, set by the court, is not mandatory, individual reporting of pro bono hours or dollars contributed (if any) is required. This decision does not force involuntary service of lawyers, but it does provide a necessary and accurate picture of the need and fulfillment of legal aid to indigent Floridians.

The “One Promise” campaign asks lawyers to pledge their time to help a Floridian in need. Learn more.

Individual Pro Bono Service Volunteer Opportunities


Members report pro bono service individually each year through a simplified reporting form that is part of the annual membership fees statement.

Collective Pro Bono Service Option

Bar rules allow law firms to devise a collective plan where some firm lawyers can devote most or all of their time to pro bono work with the resulting hours spread among all firm lawyers. This option was designed to encourage firms to tackle more demanding and complicated pro bono cases.

Collective satisfaction is permitted when law firms provide pro bono legal service to the poor or working poor:

  • in a major case or matter involving a substantial expenditure of time and resources;
  • through a full-time community or public service staff; or
  • in any other manner that has been approved by the circuit pro bono committee in the circuit in which the firm practices.

Apply for Pro Bono Legal Service Option Two

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do I have to report my pro bono hours?
Yes. Under the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar Chapter 4. Rules of Professional Conduct, 4-6.1(d):

Each member of the bar must annually report whether the member has satisfied the member’s professional responsibility to provide pro bono legal services to the poor through the member’s annual membership fees statement as developed by The Florida Bar. At minimum, the statement must include the number of hours of pro bono legal services provided and the dollar amount of contributions to pro bono legal services organizations.

The form will contain the following categories from which each member will be allowed to choose in reporting whether the member has provided pro bono legal services to the poor:

  1. I have personally provided (number of hours) pro bono legal services to the poor: (a) on my own or (b) through an organized legal aid program
  2. My firm provided pro bono services collectively under a plan with the following Florida Circuit Pro Bono Committee (circuit number) and I was allocated (number) hours.
  3. I have contributed to a legal aid organization (amount in whole dollars).
  4. I have not provided pro bono legal services to the poor this year or made a contribution to a legal aid organization.
  5. During the reporting period, I was deferred from the provision of reporting pro bono legal services to the poor because I am (option to choose one: a member of judiciary, judicial staff, a government lawyer prohibited by statute, rule or regulation from providing services, retired, inactive)

Q. Am I required to provide a certain number of pro bono hours?
A. No, the rules state that “[e]ach member of the bar should strive to individually satisfy the member’s professional responsibility to provide pro bono legal service to the poor.” The aspirational goal is 20 hours annually in pro bono service or $350 in contributions to legal aid organizations.

Q. Several members of my law firm contributed pro bono hours to one project; do we report them as a law firm or individually?
A. Individually. Your firm will credit the hours among the firm’s lawyers in a fair and reasonable manner as determined by the firm. Please check with your firm administrator.

Q. I did not report my pro bono hours on my Annual Dues statement form. How can I report them now?
A. Just send an email or letter to Membership Records, 651 E. Jefferson St. Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2300.

Pro Bono Administration

  • The Florida Bar Pro Bono Legal Services Committee reviews the material and information submitted pursuant to the pro bono rules and to present to the Board of Governors and the Supreme Court any suggested changes or modifications to the pro bono rules.
  • Pro Bono Publico History includes information about the history of pro bono service in Florida, and provides the hours of pro bono legal assistance donated to the poor and dollars contributed to legal aid organizations as reported by Florida Bar members.

Pro Bono Awards

Each year, the Florida Supreme Court and The Florida Bar recognize and honor lawyers, groups and a member of the judiciary who have freely given their time and expertise in making legal services available to the poor. The Pro Bono Service Awards are awarded in January each year and nominations are requested each fall.