The purpose of the Active Pro Bono category of active membership in the Bar is to facilitate and encourage the provision of pro bono legal services to low-income Oregonians and volunteer service to the Bar by retired lawyers who otherwise may choose inactive status or even resign from membership in the Bar. See OSB Bylaw Subsection 6.101.
Active Pro Bono Status: The Active Pro Bono category of active membership
is available to lawyers in good standing: Who agree to provide annually pro bono legal services to indigent clients referred
by pro bono programs certified under Section 13.2 of the Bar’s Bylaws;
who do not engage in the practice of law except for providing pro bono services
specified above or in volunteer service on the State Professional Responsibility
Board, a Local Professional Responsibility Committee, the Disciplinary Board
or as bar counsel and who obtain professional liability coverage through
the Professional Liability Fund or the program referring the pro bono cases.
Active Pro Bono members are assessed a fee that is equivalent to the inactive membership fee plus the Client Security Fund assessment.
On the annual statement, the Bar will notify potentially eligible lawyers of the availability of Active Pro Bono status and provide interested members with an application form. The Executive Director or designee is authorized to determine members eligibility for Active Pro Bono or status and this determination is final.
Bar Certified pro bono programs will report to the Bar no later than January 31 of each year the total hours of pro bono services that Active Pro Bono lawyers provided in the preceding calendar year. Active Pro Bono members must also report their volunteer hours
Active Pro Bono Status members may continue in that status from year-to-year on certification that they remain eligible for such status and payment of the appropriate membership fees and assessments. Active Pro Bono members wishing to resume regular active membership status must comply with BR 8.14.
Members who are in Active Pro Bono status pursuant to OSB Bylaw 6.101 are exempt from compliance with these Rules. (See OSB Minimum Continuing Legal Education Rules and Regulations 3.6 Active Pro Bono.)
Active Pro Bono Attorneys may not engage in the practice of law except for providing pro bono services to indigent clients referred by pro bono programs certified under Section 13.2 of the Bar’s Bylaws or in volunteer service on the State Professional Responsibility Board, a Local Professional Responsibility Committee, the Disciplinary Board or as bar counsel. Click here for a list of current OSB certified pro bono programs.
With limited exception, active membership in the Oregon State Bar is required in order to practice law. See ORS 9.160. Neither the statutes nor case law provide a comprehensive definition of what constitutes the “practice of law.” The Board of Governors of the Oregon State Bar has defined the practice of law to include “appearing, personally or otherwise, on behalf of another in any judicial or administrative proceeding or providing advice or service to another on any matter involving the application of legal principles to rights, duties, obligations or liabilities.” OSB Bylaws § 20.1(B). The OSB Bylaws contain a list of specific activities that are subject to investigation by the BOG Unlawful Practice of Law Committee. See OSB Bylaws § 20.2. The list is derived from Oregon Supreme Court precedent. Probably the best general definition provided by the Court is “…any exercise of an intelligent choice, or an informed discretion in advising another of his legal rights and duties….” Oregon State Bar v. Security Escrows, Inc., 233 Or 80, 89, 377 P2d 334 (1962). The practice of law includes:
All personal contact with clients “…in the nature of consultation, explanation, recommendation or advice or other assistance in selecting particular forms, in filling out any part of the forms, or suggesting or advising how the forms should be used in solving the particular [client’s] …problems….” Oregon State Bar v. Gilchrist, 272 Or 552, 563, 538 P2d 913 (1975).
Negotiating and drafting a settlement agreement on behalf of a client. In re Devers, 328 Or 230, 974 P2d 191 (1999).
Counseling clients about law matters and appearing in court or in formal proceedings as a part of the judicial process. State ex rel. Oregon State Bar v. Lenske, 284 Or 23, 31, 584 P2d 759 (1978)
Preparing estate plans and advising clients about tax consequences of insurance.
Oregon State Bar v. Miller and Co., 235 Or 341, 345-347, 385 P2d 181 (1963).