Pro bono is defined in Illinois by the state Supreme Court in the Rules of Professional Conduct. This article explains that definition, the need for pro bono and why your help is needed.
Illinois is one of 9 states in the nation that requires its attorneys to report the number of pro bono hours and financial contributions to qualified agencies during the annual attorney registration process. While attorneys are required to report this information, they are not required to actually do pro bono or make financial contributions. The annual reporting is intended to serve as a reminder of the need for and importance of pro bono legal services. This article explains the reporting requirement in more detail.
There are some common misconceptions about pro bono work that we attempt to dispel in this article.
Before committing to handle a pro bono case, an individual attorney should (1) understand the pro bono program’s expectations and (2) receive any needed training and support. This article details some initial questions that attorneys should consider before volunteering to do pro bono.
PILI recently created this brochure that provides details to a variety of potential pro bono volunteers about how they can lend their skills and commitment to legal aid programs. The above link will allow you to open the brochure as a pdf, which you can also download.
Statewide Pro Bono Resources
Visit www.IllinoisLegalAid.org for statewide pro bono opportunities and resources. Users can access free online training materials and resources to assist you with your pro bono matter. Users can also search based on variety of factors, including location, type of opportunity, area of law, skills and time availability.
PILI has several pro bono opportunities across the state of Illinois. Learn more about them and sign up to volunteer here. If you are a current volunteer, click here for volunteer resources.
The Chicago Bar Foundation compiles and publishes a detailed guide on pro bono opportunities available in the Chicagoland area.
Have questions about how to get involved in pro bono or where? Contact PILI’s Executive Director Michael Bergmann by e-mail or by phone at 312-832-5129.