Policy News

Tennessee Supreme Court Adopts Pro Bono Emeritus Attorney Program
The Tennessee Supreme Court adopted Rule 50A establishing a Pro Bono Emeritus Attorney Program. The new rule will allow lawyers who no longer actively practice law to provide free legal services through approved legal assistance organizations. The Tennessee Access to Justice Commission proposed the rule and Tennessee Bar Association supported it. The rule will take effect on January 1, 2011. Click hre to see the new Rule and Order. Click here for more information about the new program.

American Medical Association Supports Medical-legal Partnerships
The American Medical Association, during its 2010 Annual Meeting on June 15, 2010, adopted a policy to encourage physicians to develop medical-legal partnerships—collaborations between doctors and lawyers that seek to remedy the legal causes of poor health. Recently released studies, available at www.ATJsupport.org, have shown that low-income hospital patients have unmet legal needs that negatively affect their health, and that medical-legal partnerships can improve outcomes for patients.  Click here for more information.

D.C. Develops Senior Lawyers Project
In June, the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission and the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program launched a Senior Lawyers Project, to infuse the talent and expertise of experienced law firm attorneys into the legal services network. Ten leading law firms have signed on to be “Founding Partners” of the project by agreeing to institutionalize a senior lawyers program at their firms. The initiative grew out of a meeting of law firm and legal services leaders convened by the Commission in January 2010 to respond to possible economy-driven changes in the law firm business model and their impact on pro bono and financial support for legal services organizations.

South Carolina Proposes Mandatory Pro Bono Reporting Rule Changes
The South Carolina Bar Pro Bono Committee and the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission are seeking comments to proposed changes to Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.  The Rule addresses the provision of pro bono legal services to individuals of limited means or to organizations that serve individuals of limited means.  The proposed changes include a requirement to report one’s pro bono hours and the process for doing so. Click here for more information about the proposed changes.