June 15, 2014 Dialogue

Policy News

United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island Adopts Plan for Pro Bono Representation in Civil Cases

The U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island has adopted a pro bono plan that establishes an assigned–counsel project to serve unrepresented litigants of limited financial means. Attorneys willing to accept appointment to represent individuals or entities of limited financial means are asked to submit an application to the Clerk of Court to become members of the court’s Civil Pro Bono Panel. Panel attorneys must be in good standing with the bar of the court, and those with less than five years of civil litigation experience or who are otherwise inexperienced are required to work with a mentor attorney. For further information, contact Michael Simoncelli, Local Rules Review Committee Reporter or call 401/752–7221.

DC Court of Appeals Amends Rule to Permit Pro Bono Service by In–House Counsel

On July 16, 2014, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued an order amending the Rules of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals (D.C. App. Rule 49). The amendment will allow internal counsel who are not members of the D.C. Bar to provide pro bono legal services in the District, as long as they meet a number of requirements. Under the new rule, an internal counsel who is not a member of the D.C. Bar may provide pro bono legal services assigned or referred by an organization that provides legal services to the public without fee. The attorney must be supervised by an active member of the D.C. Bar, must be a member in good standing of the highest court of a state or territory, must not be disbarred or suspended for disciplinary reasons, and must not have resigned with charges pending in any jurisdiction or court. The amended rule became effective on September 1, 2014. For more information, contact Julio Castillo, Clerk of the DC Court of Appeals or call 202/879–2700.

ABA Adopts Resolution Encouraging Rules to Facilitate In–House Counsel Pro Bono Service

At the ABA Annual Meeting in August, the House of Delegates adopted a resolution urging states to adopt rules permitting and encouraging in–house counsel already authorized to engage in the practice of law, while in the exclusive employment of an organization in a jurisdiction in which they are not licensed, to provide pro bono legal services. Currently, 31 U.S. jurisdictions provide for the provision of pro bono legal services by in-house counsel not licensed in the jurisdiction; the goal of the resolution is adoption of such provisions in the remaining ones. For additional information, contact the Director of the ABA Center for Pro Bono at abaprobono@americanbar.org.