Later this week I'm off to Washington DC to attend and host the accreditation for the Pro Bono Institute's Annual Seminar and Forum on In-House Pro Bono. The conference, always well attended, provides top-notch programming on creating and maintaining a pro bono program in law firms or corporations, and covers issues that may arise in this representation.
Pro Bono work is also a way in which attorneys may fulfill some of their MCLE requirements in several states. I recently did an audit of the rules, and the following offer credit - either for providing pro bono services or for taking training on providing pro bono:
Direct Representation and Mentoring in Pro Bono Civil Legal Matters
• A lawyer may be awarded a maximum of nine (9) units of general credit during each three-year compliance period for providing uncompensated pro bono legal representation to an indigent or near-indigent client or clients in a civil legal matter, or mentoring another lawyer or a law student providing such representation. (emphasis added)
• To be eligible for units of general credit, the civil pro bono legal matter in which a lawyer provides representation must have been assigned to the lawyer by: a court; a bar association or Access to Justice Committee-sponsored program; an organized non-profit entity, such as Colorado Legal Services, Metro Volunteer Lawyers, or Colorado Lawyers Committee whose purpose is or includes the provision of pro bono representation to indigent or near-indigent persons in civil legal matters; or a law school. Prior to assigning the matter, the assigning court, program, entity, or law school shall determine that the client is financially eligible for pro bono legal representation because (a) the client qualifies for participation in programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation, or (b) the client’s income and financial resources are slightly above the guidelines utilized by such programs, but the client nevertheless cannot afford counsel.
• Subject to the reporting and review requirements, (a) a lawyer providing uncompensated, pro bono legal representation shall receive one (1) unit of general credit for every five (5) billable-equivalent hours of representation provided to the indigent client; (b) a lawyer who acts as a mentor to another lawyer as specified in this Rule shall be awarded one (1) unit of general credit per completed matter; and (c) a lawyer who acts as a mentor to a law student shall be awarded two (2) units of general credit per completed matter. A lawyer will not be eligible to receive more than nine (9) units of general credit during any three-year compliance period via any combination of pro bono representation and mentoring.
Pro Bono Credit: An attorney may receive credit, upon application to the Commission, for performing uncompensated legal services for clients unable to afford counsel.
• Credit may be earned at a rate of one hour of CLE credit for every 6 hours of Pro Bono service.
• An attorney may receive no more than 6 credits for Pro Bono service in any biannual reporting period.
Pro Bono Legal Representation. A lawyer may claim 1 hour of standard CLE credit for every 6 hours of pro bono legal representation that the lawyer provides to a pro bono client in a legal matter that has been referred to the lawyer by an approved legal services provider or by a Minnesota Judicial Branch program. No more than 6 hours of credit may be claimed per reporting period by a lawyer for pro bono legal representation. In order to receive CLE credit the lawyer must submit an Affidavit of Pro Bono Representation to the Board.
Pro Bono Legal Services
• Credit may be earned for performing eligible pro bono legal services for clients unable to afford counsel pursuant to (i) assignment by a court or (ii) participation in a pro bono CLE program sponsored by an Approved Pro Bono CLE Provider.
o Pro bono CLE credit will not be awarded for (1) legal services provided by assigned counsel who receive compensation for those services from any source, or (2) legal services provided by legal services organization attorneys within the scope of their employment.
• CLE credit shall not be awarded for pro bono legal services performed outside of New York State.
• Credit for pro bono legal services shall be awarded in the following ratio: one (1) CLE credit hour for every (6) 50-minute hours (300 minutes) of pro bono legal service.
• Credit shall be awarded in increments of no less than .5 CLE credit hour.
• Ethics and professionalism credit hours are not available for participation in pro bono legal services.
• A maximum of six (6) pro bono CLE credit hours may be earned during any one reporting cycle.
• Newly admitted attorneys may earn pro bono CLE credit solely for the purpose of carrying pro bono CLE credit to the following biennial reporting cycle in partial fulfillment of the requirements for experienced attorneys. A maximum of six (6) CLE credit hours, including pro bono CLE credit, may be carried over to the following biennial reporting cycle.
Up to 1.0 hour of credit for every 6.0 hours of pro bono service performed; no more than 3.0 hours of credit in any one year of the attorney’s reporting period. (emphasis added)
Ethics and professionalism credit may be earned at the rate of one hour of credit for every five billable hours of pro bono legal representation provided through court appointment, an organized bar association program or legal services organization, or of pro bono mediation services as required by Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 or the Federal Court Mediation Programs established by the United States District courts in Tennessee. (emphasis added)
Pro bono legal services: A member may earn up to six (6) hours of credit annually by certifying that the member has fulfilled the following requirements under the auspices of a qualified legal services provider:
• Each attorney seeking CLE credit will have received at least two (2) hours of education, under the auspices of a qualified legal services provider, which may consist of:
o not less than two (2) hours of training with live presentation(s); or
o not less than two (2) hours viewing or listening individually to video or audio tapes approved by the CLE Board; or
o any combination of the foregoing training; or
• serving as a mentor to a participating attorney who has completed the foregoing training; and
• Each attorney seeking CLE credit also will have subsequently completed not less than four (4) hours of pro bono work in providing legal advice, representation, or other legal assistance to low-income client(s) through a qualified legal services provider or in serving as a mentor to other participating attorney(s) who are providing such advice, representation, or assistance.
• A maximum of three (3) hours of credit may be granted to those lawyers who provide representation or mentoring activities as approved by the Wyoming Pro Bono Organization (WYPBO) after July 1, 2001.
• The attorney shall receive one (1) hour of continuing education credit for every five (5) billable-equivalent hours.
• For Mentoring Another Attorney: A WYPBO attorney who acts as a mentor to another attorney for a pro bono case will be awarded one (1) CLE credit per case and shall not be eligible to receive more than three (3) CLE credits for pro bono work in any one calendar year.
• For Mentoring a Law Student: A WYPBO attorney who acts as a mentor for a law student who has successfully completed at least four (4) semesters at an ABA accredited law school on a case will be awarded three (3) CLE credits and shall not be eligible to receive more than three (3) CLE credits for pro bono work in any one calender year.
• Upon completion of a WYPBO matter, the participating attorney shall receive a letter from the WYPBO director certifying the number of hours of credit earned for the representation. The attorney shall report this activity on the same form as desribed above and attach a copy of the certification letter.