SBM Seeks Applications for 2016 Pro Bono Circle of Excellence

The State Bar of Michigan invites all law firms of two or more attorneys to apply for the 2016 Pro Bono Circle of Excellence, recognizing every firm that fully complied with the SBM Voluntary Pro Bono Standard during 2015. The application deadline is April 4.

The Voluntary Pro Bono Standard applies to legal services for low-income individuals and organizations, as well as financial support for eligible nonprofit organizations that provide free civil legal aid for the poor. Contributions to the Access to Justice Fund count toward fulfilling the standard, which calls for attorneys to annually take three pro bono cases, devote at least 30 hours to pro bono service or contribute $300 to a legal aid provider organization.

Firms that can afford to do so are asked to make annual financial contributions of $500 per attorney to be recognized at the “Leadership Level” of the Circle of Excellence. Individual lawyers who meet the Pro Bono Standard are celebrated locally through their access to justice programs and the “A Lawyer Helps” area of the State Bar of Michigan website.

“I look forward to continuing the excitement generated by last year’s Circle of Excellence,” SBM President Lori Buiteweg said. “We hope to add new firms and corporations to the Circle of Excellence this year. The more applications we receive, the better. Applications help quantify the level of pro bono work our members provide to those in need.”

The Circle of Excellence is published frequently in the Michigan Bar Journal, posted on the State Bar and the Michigan State Bar Foundation websites and is distributed at the State Bar Annual meeting. Apply for the Pro Bono Circle of Excellence. For more information, contact Robert Mathis at rmathis@mail.michbar.org or (517) 346-6412.