Pro Bono Manual: Introduction


The State Bar of Michigan's Pro Bono Initiative is proud to offer the fifth edition of this manual. The first edition was published as a paperback in 1995. The fifth edition moves us to an electronic, web-based interface, with user-friendly navigation, and the inclusion of hyperlinks to many pro bono resources. In addition to the change in presentation, the book also incorporates many of the remarkable developments in pro bono in Michigan since the 2008 edition. Those include:

The Pro Bono Manual is intended to be a resource for local groups and individual attorneys interested in pro bono, with examples of standards, programs, and materials that will permit readers to become familiar with the issues and connect with a local or statewide legal services program. We recommend that lawyers work through legal services providers to better understand the legal needs of the poor, to coordinate limited pro bono resources, and to consistently encourage Michigan lawyers to support the delivery of civil legal services to the poor by providing volunteer services.

Many of the ideas for this manual came from the Pro Bono Initiative—an entity overseen by the Committee on Justice Initiatives, a standing committee of the State Bar, which is concerned with promoting and supporting pro bono efforts. However, the detail work in creating this manual and supporting pro bono initiatives on a day-to-day basis is undertaken by the Justice Initiatives staff of the State Bar. We wish to thank them for their efforts and to invite readers to call on them with questions and requests for support.

We present this manual with gratitude for the thousands of pro bono hours donated by Michigan lawyers each year. We present it with the hope that this manual will, in some small way, help committed lawyers to continue to make progress toward our national goal of justice for all.

Bob Gillett
Peggy Costello, Co-Chairs
Pro Bono Initiative


The fifth publication of this manual should be of enormous benefit to all pro bono practitioners. The Pro Bono Initiative wishes to acknowledge the continuing cooperation of the Legal Services Association of Michigan, the Committee on Justice Initiatives, the Equal Access Initiative, the Justice Policy Initiative, the Criminal Issues Initiative, the Access to Justice Campaign, the Michigan State Bar Foundation, and the State Bar of Michigan in the effort to expand and improve pro bono participation by Michigan's lawyers.