Pro Bono Publico

Under ARSC 6.1 (a) Arizona lawyers should voluntarily render public interest legal service. We can discharge this professional responsibility by rendering a minimum of fifty hours of service per calendar year in many different ways. The Arizona Supreme Court’s is detailed in attached pdf.

Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those who are unable to pay. Under American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rule 6.1, a lawyer should aspire to render at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services per year. The ABA offers dues waivers to certain senior and inactive members of the bar who volunteer at least 500 hours of their time.

The full name, pro bono publico is a Latin phrase typically shortened to “pro bono” when it’s used in the legal profession. It means “for the good of the people,” and it refers to legal services performed free of charge or at reduced fees for the public good. That is the kind of pro bono envisioned in ARSC 6.1. However, a lawyer might also privately accept a case “pro bono,” meaning that no fee will be charged. Sometimes it is used, when lawyers accept significantly lower fee for private representation. It is important to remember the difference between pro bono publico and just plain pro bono. The former is used when providing legal services in the public interest. The latter is used for free or low cost legal services for private clients.

In Arizona, the efforts of individual lawyers have never been enough to meet the needs of the poor. That’s why the Arizona State Bar and other local bar associations have specific programs that provide direct delivery of legal services to the poor, disadvantaged, wrongfully charged or convicted, and victims of criminal and civil injustice. The Court encourages all Arizona lawyers to provide financial support for organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means. One of the best such organizations is the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education. Our foundation supports that highly successful organization in every way we can.

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