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American Bar Association

PRO BONO STATE SUPPORT

Pro bono state support consists of providing technical assistance and support to pro bono field programs and/or addressing pro bono policy issues at a statewide level. Among the states that have a pro bono state support staff, there is a great deal of variety in where the position is housed, the responsibilities of the position, and the size of the staff devoted to pro bono state support. The information on this page is intended to answer some commonly asked questions about pro bono state support positions.

Funding and Housing a Pro Bono State Support Position

A pro bono state support staff may be funded from various sources. Typical sources include bar association support and contributions from legal services organizations within the state. A state may also wish to explore the possibility of other sources of funding, including grants and filing fee funds. For more suggestions on funding sources, see the Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives (previously known as "Project to Expand Resources for Legal Services" (PERLS)) web page.

Pro bono state support persons may be housed at a state bar association, a legal services program, or independently. Factors to consider in determining where to house the pro bono state support staff include the needs of the funder(s), availability of space, and ease of access to the staff's constituents - pro bono managers and the private bar.

The Responsibilities of a Pro Bono State Support Position

The range of activities covered by a pro bono state support staff varies widely from state to state. Each state must determine how a statewide position can best assist and support the local field programs. In creating a pro bono state support position, the services available through other programs in the state should be considered in order to coordinate -- and avoid duplication -- of services. The level of funding and staffing of the pro bono state support staff will also be a consideration in determining which goals to pursue.

Responsibilities of a state support position may include:

  • Providing technical assistance and support to pro bono programs in the state
  • Developing training for pro bono managers within the state
  • Developing conferences and events to promote pro bono to the private bar
  • Developing training for the judiciary to promote pro bono
  • Developing substantive training for volunteers
  • Developing campaigns to recruit volunteers
  • Hosting a listserve for pro bono managers in the state
  • Hosting a listserve for pro bono volunteers in the state
  • Developing recruitment, training, and publicity materials for pro bono programs to provide to volunteers
  • Spearheading pro bono projects focused on specific substantive issues
  • Pursuing implementation of pro bono policies (e.g. Rule 6.1, reporting, CLE for pro bono work)
  • Pursuing funding for pro bono programs
  • Staffing statewide pro bono and/or access to justice committees
  • Developing and promoting model pro bono policies for law firms, in-house corporate legal departments and/or government agencies
  • Developing a statewide directory of pro bono and legal services program within the state
  • Surveying the private bar about pro bono participation

      Links of Interest

      A number of pro bono state support entities have websites. Below are links to pro bono support sites:

      State Bar of Georgia Pro Bono Project

      Indiana Pro Bono Commission

      Iowa State Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project

      Kentucky Access to Justice Foundation

      Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC)

      New York State Bar Association Department of Pro Bono Affairs

      North Carolina Bar Association Pro Bono Project

      Oregon State Bar Pro Bono Program

      Pennsylvania Bar Association Pro Bono Home Page

      Tennessee Bar Association Access to Justice Committee

      Texas Lawyers Care

      Virginia State Bar Pro Bono

      Washington State Bar Association Access to Justice

      State Bar of Wisconsin Team Pro Bono

      Wyoming State Bar Pro Bono

      Center for Pro Bono State Support Listserve

      The Center for Pro Bono hosts a listserve to facilitate communication between pro bono state support staff and discussion of issues confronting the pro bono state support community. For more information on the listserve, please .

      For More Information

      For sample pro bono state support job descriptions, pro bono surveys and other materials related to pro bono, visit the Center for Pro Bono's Clearinghouse.

      If you have any questions about the information on this page, or would like to share information regarding pro bono state support in your state, please or call (312) 988-5770.

    • Updated: 7/27/2012

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