The State Bar of Michigan is proud to launch a new initiative to recognize Michigan attorneys for pro bono service. The A Lawyer Helps Pro Bono Honor Roll will recognize Michigan attorneys who provide 30 or more hours of pro bono legal services in a calendar year, the Voluntary Pro Bono Standard’s aspirational goal for pro bono service. The A Lawyer Helps Pro Bono Honor Roll will replace the Pro Bono Circle of Excellence, which for the past 14 years provided much-deserved recognition for firms and corporations that demonstrated full compliance with the voluntary standard by providing pro bono legal services to low-income people in need, financial contributions to the Access to Justice Fund to increase resources for civil legal aid for the poor in Michigan or both.
Individual attorneys, law firms and corporations will be recognized at one of three recognition levels for providing 30, 50, or 100 or more hours of pro bono service in the previous calendar year. The State Bar of Michigan will publicize attorneys on the A Lawyer Helps Pro Bono Honor Roll through postings on the web, in the Michigan Bar Journal, and through other printed and electronic methods.
Individual attorneys and designated staff members, on behalf of their affiliated law firms and corporations, are encouraged to complete and submit an A Lawyer Helps Pro Bono Honor Roll online application. The application will be available on the State Bar of Michigan A Lawyer Helps website in early February of 2019. Eligibility for the honor roll is be determined on an annual basis.
The provision of pro bono legal services to low-income people plays an essential role in providing access to justice for those in need. In 2014 alone, Michigan attorneys provided more than 32,000 hours of free legal help for low-income clients, making a significant impact toward increased access to justice.
Also beginning in 2019, the Access to Justice (ATJ) Campaign will recognize individuals, law firms and corporate legal departments that make significant total donations on tiered recognition lists, as well as law firms that achieve a per-attorney average donation of at least $300, starting with tiered levels of $300, $500, $750, or $1,000 per lawyer. You can find more information on the ATJ Campaign at msbf.org. You can find more information about the A Lawyer Helps program at michbar.org/alawyerhelps.
For more information about the A Lawyer Helps Pro Bono Honor Roll, the application process and how you can find pro bono volunteer opportunities, contact SBM Pro Bono Service & Justice Initiatives counsel Robert Mathis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the State Bar of Michigan
Established in 1935, the State Bar of Michigan is composed of more than 45,000 practicing attorneys and judges. The mission of the State Bar is to improve the administration of justice, promote the legal profession, and build public understanding of our legal system. For more information, visit www.michbar.org. Follow SBM on Facebook and on Twitter @MIStateBar. If you are a member of the State Bar, join our group on LinkedIn.