Pro Bono Policies


State policies that address pro bono can contribute to the expansion of pro bono within a state's borders and beyond. By articulating goals and acceptable procedures relating to pro bono, a state can spread important messages about pro bono and effect increases in pro bono participation and monetary contributions by attorneys in support of pro bono and other legal services initiatives. 


The messages conveyed through state policy can also spark curiosity amongst pro bono supporters outside of a particular state. What one state is doing on a policy level may be of value to another state because successful policy in one state might translate into successful policy in another state. Similarly, challenges faced through the process of policy development in one state might serve as a helpful guide in another state.








Model Rule 6.1



Establishes professional responsibility to provide pro bono service. Also see state-by-state adaptations.








Law School Accreditation



Law school accreditation standard 303(2)(b) deals with pro bono activities offered by law schools to their students.



Bar Pre-Admission




Requiring pro bono service as a condition to becoming licensed for law practice. A number of states are considering such requirements.




Continuing Legal Education Rules




A number of states have implemented rules that permit attorneys who take pro bono cases to earn credit toward mandatory CLE requirements.




In the Disaster Context




Establishing special procedures to enable expanded pro bono efforts in the event of a disaster.



Reporting Pro Bono Service

Establishing reporting requirements to emphasize pro bono responsibility and to gather data regarding pro bono activities.

Corporate In-House Counsel

Supporting, enhancing and transforming pro bono efforts of in-house legal departments. See Corporate Pro Bono and the Pro Bono Institute.

To Persons of Limited Means

Standards and resources related to providing pro bono services to persons of limited means.



Encouraging retired and inactive attorneys to provide pro bono by waiving some of the normal licensing requirements.

Judicial Participation

Judicial support of pro bono can increase lawyers' acceptance of responsibility and increase the acceptance of pro bono as a necessary component of access to justice.

To submit or update information about pro bono policy in your state,

email Center for Pro Bono staff