Voluntary Pro Bono Standard

As adopted by the Representative Assembly as a policy of the State Bar of Michigan

All active members of the State Bar of Michigan should participate in the direct delivery of pro bono legal services to the poor by annually:

  1. Providing representation without charge to a minimum of three low income individuals; or
  2. Providing a minimum of thirty hours of representation or services, without charge, to low income individuals or organizations;1 or
  3. Providing a minimum of thirty hours of professional services at no fee or at a reduced fee to persons of limited means or to public service or charitable groups or organizations; or
  4. Contributing a minimum of $300 to not-for-profit programs2 organized for the purpose of delivering civil legal services to low income individuals or organizations.3 The minimum recommended contribution level is $500 per year for those lawyers whose income allows a higher contribution.

1 In recognition of the fact that some individuals may not be able to provide direct client representation, the time obligation may be fulfilled by active involvement in activities such as serving on a local Pro Bono committee or the board of directors of a legal aid or legal services program, training other lawyers through a structured program, engaging in community legal education programs or advising nonprofit, low income, or public interest organizations or groups.

2 A list of eligible programs will be published by the Committee on Pro Bono Involvement and made available annually through the State Bar of Michigan.

3 An attorney's obligation may be fulfilled by a combination of activities such as direct representation of an individual in one case and a financial contribution of $200.