Alabama Access to Justice Commission
Pro Bono Public Service Recognition Program
Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct 6.1 states that a lawyer should render public interest legal service. The legal profession possesses unique skills and abilities that allow lawyers to serve the disadvantaged and promote the public interest in ways that no other profession can. As part of its mission, the Alabama Access to Justice Commission supports, facilitates and encourages the delivery of pro bono legal services. Each year during Pro Bono Month the Alabama Access to Justice Commission and the Alabama Supreme Court will honor lawyers who provide 50 or more hours of qualified pro bono legal services under RPC 6.1.
If you volunteer with one of these volunteer lawyer programs: Alabama State Bar Volunteer Lawyers Program, Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program, Madison County Volunteer Lawyers Program, Montgomery County Volunteer Lawyers Program, or the South Alabama Volunteer Lawyers Program they will report volunteers with 50 or more pro bono hours through their program to us. It is ordered that attorneys will be recognized at a reception at the Supreme Court of Alabama on Tuesday, October 18, 2016.
Pro Bono legal services refer to activities consisting of the delivery of legal services undertaken normally without expectation of a fee:
- Directly to persons of limited means;
- To charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters that are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means;
- To individuals, groups or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, human rights, civil liberties or public rights.
What kind of work qualifies as pro bono?
Time spent on the following activities will qualify for recognition if it is provided without fee or without expectation of fee:
- Participation in any bar- or court-approved pro bono program or project;
- Services provided to a person of limited means who seeks legal services on their own behalf from your office;
- Court-appointed representation of an indigent party;
- Activities, whether or not under the auspices of a bar association, that are intended to increase the availability of legal services to the underserved or improve the administration of justice;
- Projects referred through public interest law firms and advocacy programs that are generally presumed to meet the above definition of pro bono;
- Legal services provided by an attorney to a non-profit or charity organization whose primary activity is serving persons of limited means.
- The provision of law-related training of persons of limited means at the request of the Court or a charitable, religious, civic, community, government or educational organization;
The following activities will NOT qualify as pro bono legal services for purposes of this recognition program:
- Service on the board of directors of non-profit organizations;
- Volunteer, non-legal services or work, including, for example, volunteering in a soup kitchen;
- Absent unusual circumstances, work provided to clubs, fraternities, sororities, or condo or neighborhood associations;
- Services to a nonprofit organization with sufficient funds or other resources so that it should be expected to pay, or is in fact paying, for legal services as part of its normal business, including major cultural, healthcare, educational or political organizations;
- Marketing promotional efforts;
- Professional advancement projects, including for example, speaking engagements, service on bar committees, law school teaching or publication writing;
- Work originally taken with the expectation that a fee will be paid but for which the client becomes unable or unwilling to pay;
- Work performed for members or employees of your firm; or
- Absent unusual circumstances, work performed for family members or friends of an attorney in your firm without charge.