The State Bar of California encourages attorneys to perform pro bono work in the course of their careers.
Whether it is representing people who are struggling financially or people with disabilities, offering pro bono legal services is a way for new attorneys to gain experience, and for experienced attorneys to provide representation to those who need it the most.
Legal work on matters that have been screened and referred by a qualified legal services provider qualify as pro bono under the State Bar’s Pro Bono Resolution.
The State Bar also waives the active status membership fee for eligible attorneys who do pro bono work under the Pro Bono Practice Program. This involves working exclusively with a qualified legal services provider or a State Bar certified lawyer referral service, no-fee or pro-bono panel or a court-based self-help center.
More information for attorneys looking for pro bono work opportunities:
If you are an attorney, you can find free MCLE training programs via the Practising Law Institute (PLI) and the Pro Bono Training Institute.
Some local legal services organizations provide training and support. To find out about pro bono trainings, see the resources below or subscribe to the the Center on Access to Justice's mailing list.
Previously called the Emeritus Attorney Pro Bono Program, the Pro Bono Practice Program offers attorneys the opportunity to contribute their legal expertise to Californians in need.
Eligible participants who qualify can have their State Bar membership fees waived and also get free and reduced rates to attend Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) programs.
Download an application form
The State Bar honors recipients showing exemplary pro bono work. Learn more and see the past recipients of the President's Pro Bono Service and other awards.
Volunteers can also receive the Wiley W. Manuel certificate in recognition of their pro bono efforts. Those who contribute at least 50 hours of pro bono service in a 12-month period are eligible.
Download the form and get it signed by your pro bono program coordinator.