Reporting Pro Bono on the Annual Dues Statement Frequently Asked Questions:
- Do I have to report my pro bono hours?
- Am I required to provide a certain number of pro bono hours?
- Several members of my law firm contribute pro bono hours to one project, do we report them as a law firm or individually?
- I did not report my pro bono hours on my Annual Dues statement form, how can I report them now?
Other Pro Bono Information:
Under Rule 4-6.1(d), Pro Bono Public Service
Each member of the bar shall annually report whether the member has satisfied the member’s professional responsibility to provide pro bono legal services to the poor. Each member shall report this information through a simplified reporting form that is made a part of the member’s annual membership fees statement. 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 _____ hours of pro bono legal services;
(2) I have provided pro bono legal services collectively by: (indicate type of case and manner in which service was provided);
(3) I have contributed $__________ to: (indicate organization to which funds were provided);
(4) I have provided legal services to the poor in the following special manner: (indicate manner in which services were provided); or
(5) I have been unable to provide pro bono legal services to the poor this year; or
(6) I am deferred from the provision of pro bono legal services to the poor because I am: (indicate whether lawyer is: a member of the judiciary or judicial staff; a government lawyer prohibited by statute, rule, or regulation from providing services; retired, or inactive).
The failure to report this information shall constitute a disciplinary offense under these rules.
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.
Several members of my law firm contribute pro bono hours to one project, do we report them as a law firm or individually?
Individually, unless your firm administrator filed a firm plan for pro bono with your local pro bono committee under the chief judge of your circuit before the hours were contributed. Please check with your firm administrator.
Just send a letter to Membership Records, 651 E. Jefferson Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2300, or to [email protected]
OTHER PRO BONO INFORMATION:
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.
The Bar Issue Paper on Pro Bono Publico provides the hours of pro bono legal assistance donated to the poor and dollars contributed to legal aid organizations reported by Florida Bar members.
Rules Regulating The Florida Bar: Chapter 4. Rules of Professional Conduct (Rules 4-6.1 – Rule 4-6.5) governing Public Service
Florida Pro Bono Matters is a statewide database that attorneys can go to and pick pro bono cases, full representation.
FloridaProBono.org – This site provides information to help guide volunteer attorneys in representing individuals, families and non-profit organizations in need of legal assistance.
Florida Guardian Ad Litem program website offers volunteer opportunities.
Pro Bono Services in Florida by Judge William A. VanNortwick, Jr. and Kent R. Spuhler, Jr. and Paul C. Doyle, Jr.
Each year, the Florida Supreme Court and The Florida Bar give special recognition to lawyers, groups and a member of the judiciary via 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.