It has been the tradition of those learned in the law and licensed to practice law in this state to provide voluntary pro bono legal services to those who cannot afford the help of a lawyer. Every lawyer authorized and privileged to practice law in California is expected to make a contribution. In some circumstances, it may not be feasible for a lawyer to directly provide pro bono services. In those circumstances, a lawyer may instead fulfill his or her individual pro bono ethical commitment, in part, by providing financial support to organizations providing free legal services to persons of limited means. In deciding to provide that financial support, the lawyer should, at minimum, approximate the value of the hours of pro bono legal service that he or she would otherwise have provided. In some circumstances, pro bono contributions may be measured collectively, as by a firm’s aggregate pro bono activities or financial contributions. Lawyers also make invaluable contributions through their other voluntary public service activities that increase access to justice or improve the law and the legal system. In view of their expertise in areas that critically affect the lives and well-being of members of the public, lawyers are uniquely situated to provide invaluable assistance in order to benefit those who might otherwise be unable to assert or protect their interests, and to support those legal organizations that advance these goals.
(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 179, Sec. 14. Effective January 1, 2009.)