We all agree that encouraging pro bono work by lawyers and law firms is an important goal. Pro bono work benefits individual lawyers, law firms, and their communities. It provides personal satisfaction, invaluable training and experience, presents opportunities to attract clients, and increases access to justice for low-income people and non-profit organizations.
A written pro bono policy emphasizes your firmís commitment to pro bono work and to your community. It can provide guidance and encouragement to newer lawyers as they are developing their professional standards and integrating pro bono work into their individual practices. A written policy is a reflection to the broader community of your firmís desire to serve the needs of those less advantaged members of the community.
The Oregon State Barís Pro Bono Committee developed this worksheet, handbook and attached template policy as tools for your firm to use in crafting a written pro bono policy that is specifically tailored to your firmís lawyers, practices and goals. The sources we relied on in developing this tool include the OSB Aspirational Pro Bono Standard, the American Bar Associationís pro bono standard, other state barsí policies, and existing law firm pro bono policies. The Committeeís goal is simply to provide you with a helpful resource to prepare a clear and useful written pro bono policy for your firm.
The worksheet and template are not intended to constrain or require your firm to use any particular elements as part of a written pro bono policy. Different firms have different needs, practices, sizes, cultures and goals. The worksheet and template are meant to be a flexible tool to help you develop a written policy.
There are a variety of methods your firm can use to craft a written pro bono policy. Some firms have formed a committee to write a policy, while others have delegated that responsibility to individual lawyers. Whatever method you use, this tool is intended to help simplify and speed that process. We have developed a worksheet that asks you to consider potential components of your firmís pro bono policy in a multiple-choice format. If you complete this worksheet using our online form at www.osbar.org/probono/policy, your responses will be incorporated automatically into the template as a custom written pro bono policy draft for your review. The members of the Committee, as well as a panel of firms (both large and small) who have already used the template, are available to serve as a resource as you are crafting a written pro bono policy.
Finally, we on the OSB Pro Bono Committee are always looking for ways to provide more useful information to the members of the bar. If you would be willing to share any written pro bono policy that you might create with us, other lawyers and firms may find your approach helpful in crafting their own policies. Please contact the Pro Bono Program at firstname.lastname@example.org or (503) 431-6355 if you would like more information or would be interested in having Pro Bono Committee members sit down with you to help with the drafting process.