Pro Bono FAQ

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QUESTIONS

  1. Who can be a pro bono lawyer?

  2. What is required of lawyers licensed to practice in Arkansas regarding pro bono work?

  3. How can a lawyer become involved in pro bono work?

  4. Can I pick my own cases?

  5. What resources are available to pro bono attorneys?

  6. When I make a donation, how will my gift be used?

  7. Is malpractice insurance offered for volunteers?

  8. How much time does the average pro bono matter take?

  9. Am I required to report my hours of pro bono service to the Arkansas Supreme Court?

  10. Are there disciplinary sanctions for failure to perform pro bono service?

  11. How does the Partnership keep track of the number of pro bono hours I have performed?

Answers  

  1. Any lawyer who is currently licensed to practice law in Arkansas and is in good standing may become involved in pro bono work. (Back to Top

  2. The Arkansas Code of Professional Conduct Rule 6.1 states that attorneys are encouraged to perform at least 50 hours of pro bono service per year. A substantial portion of those hours should be devoted to providing professional services at no fee or a reduced fee, specifically to low-income clients who qualify for representation by legal services programs under federal poverty guidelines. The balance of those hours should be devoted to activities to assist non-profit organizations or improve the law or legal profession. Attorneys should also make financial contributions to legal services providers. (Back to Top)
    A.R.P.C. 6.1 
    Federal Poverty Level Guidelines

  3. Your pro bono coordinator will obtain information about the types of cases you are interested in handling, and you will be matched with a client. The Partnership will then provide a username and password to access the pro bono section of the website. (Back to Top)

  4. The Partnership will make every effort to refer cases you prefer; however, when needed, you may be asked to accept other types of cases. Once a month the Pro Bono Case Alerts E-newsletter will be sent to the email you provide us when you register. You can choose a case that you would like to accept. (Back to Top)

  5. Some resources available to pro bono volunteers: access to over 500 legal documents, forms, fact sheets and letters in our legal library; the Poverty Law Practice Manual; access to reduced cost or free CLE seminars (check Calendar for updates); guidance from a legal services attorney; and the opportunity to specify the types of cases you prefer. (Sign up for a monthly e-newsletter with case profiles you can select.) See Advocate Resources for more information. (Back to Top)

  6. Gifts to the Arkansas Pro Bono Partnership will be divided on an equal basis between the four pro bono programs and the Partnership. You may also designate your gift to support a specific program, such as AVLE, EAJP, VAP, or VOCALS. Please indicate your preference on the memo line of your check. (Back to Top)

  7. Yes. Secondary malpractice insurance coverage is provided, free of charge, for cases referred through Partnership programs. The coverage does not apply to fee-generating or conflict cases. (Back to Top)

  8. This is a difficult question to answer, because each case is different, and we cannot predict what will happen. In general, some cases may require intense work over a shorter period of time but resolve fairly quickly, while some cases may be spread out over a number of months before resolution. (Back to Top)

  9. At this time, Rule 6.1 does not require that pro bono volunteers report the number of hours of pro bono service they have performed to the Supreme Court or to any other body. (Back to Top)

  10. No. A lawyer will not be disciplined for failure to perform pro bono service. However, once a pro bono case has been accepted, the same ethical rules apply to its handling as to any other matter. (Back to Top)

  11. The pro bono coordinator in your service area will assist you in tracking your hours of pro bono service by sending you a case update request card. Please indicate the number of hours you spent on a matter when you return the card, and your coordinator will keep a running total for you of your yearly service. (Back to Top)

 

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