Policy News

Louisiana Adopts Disaster Pro Bono Rule
The Louisiana Supreme Court entered an order adopting a major disaster rule in April 2011, becoming the 12th U.S. jurisdiction to do so. The rule, based upon the ABA Model Court Rule on Provision of Legal Services Following Determination of Major Disaster, permits attorneys licensed in other jurisdictions to provide pro bono legal service after declaration of an emergency. For more information, see http://www.lasc.org/rules/supreme/RuleXLI.asp.

Nebraska adopts Registration for In-House Counsel
Effective January 2012, revisions to Neb. Ct. R. §§ 3-1201 allow corporate lawyers who are not admitted to practice in Nebraska but are admitted to practice in another jurisdiction and maintain active status in that jurisdiction to register as in-house counsel within 90 days of employment. A lawyer registered under this section is able to provide pro bono legal services through an established not-for-profit association, pro bono program or legal services program or other organizations specifically authorized in Nebraska. For more information about the rule, see http://court.nol.org/rules/amendments/3-12App1Amds.pdf.

Indiana Amends its Rules of Trial Procedure to Allow for Limited Representation
Effective January 2012, revisions to Rule 3.1(I) will allow for temporary representation of a party or limited scope representation.  In order to engage in this activity, the lawyer must file a notice of temporary or limited representation.  When the attorney completes the representation, the attorney must then file a notice of completion of representation with the clerk of the court. For more information, see http://www.floydcounty.in.gov/SupremeCourtFilings/94S00-1101-MS-17a.pdf.

Indiana Pro Bono Commission Creates Partnership to Address Bankruptcy
In October 2011, The Indiana Pro Bono Commission partnered with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana and the Indiana State Bar Association’s Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights Section to create a new pro bono project.  The organizations have already created a bankruptcy resources flyer.  For more information about the project, see

Arkansas Adopts Order Permitting Out-of-State Attorneys to Provide Pro Bono Services
The Arkansas Supreme Court granted the Access to Justice Commission’s petition to authorize attorneys licensed outside of Arkansas to provide pro bono services in the state under the sponsorship of legal aid organizations named in the order: The Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas, and Lone Star Legal Aid. The rule permits in-house, corporate counsel, as well as other resident attorneys not licensed in the state, the opportunity to provide pro bono legal services to low income residents. For more information, see https://courts.arkansas.gov/announcements/In%20re%20Petition%20

Tennessee Launches Website Providing Legal Assistance
OnlineTNJustice.org, a joint project of the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and the Tennessee Bar Association, is a virtual walk-in clinic through which income qualifying clients can request brief advice and counsel about a specific civil legal matter. Volunteer lawyers will provide basic legal advice without expectation of long-term representation. For more information, contact Sarah Hayman, Access to Justice/Public Education Coordinator, Tennessee Bar Association, or call 615/383-7421.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Establishes Pro Bono Recognition Program
The newly established Pro Bono Recognition Program, to be administered by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, will honor law firms, solo practitioners, government attorneys, non-profit organizations and law school faculties who provide significant pro bono services. To qualify, the lawyer, firm or organization must certify that the pro bono legal services hours provided per attorney are at least 50 in a year, or that more than 75 percent of the Massachusetts attorneys of the firm or organization have provided at least 25 pro bono hours in a year. For additional information, contact Carol Lev, Coordinator of Program and Policy Development, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, or call 617/557-1074.

Minnesota Justice Foundation Uses Technology to Serve Rural Veterans
The Minnesota Justice Foundation is using video technology to link homeless veterans in Duluth with volunteer bankruptcy lawyers in Minneapolis, bringing resources to areas with fewer attorneys. Law students from Minneapolis traveled to Duluth to assist legal aid attorneys in performing intake there. Clients meet with volunteer attorneys via interactive TV, the same technology that is used at Minnesota courthouses. For additional information, contact Sara Sommarstrom, Vetlaw Director, Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, or call 651/224-0292.