Applications sought for Pro Bono Circle of Excellence

The State Bar of Michigan invites all law firms of two or more attorneys to apply for the 2014 Pro Bono Circle of Excellence, which recognizes every firm that fully complied with the State Bar's Voluntary Pro Bono Standard during 2013. The application deadline is Friday, April 4.

Both volunteer legal services for low-income individuals and organizations and financial support for eligible nonprofit organizations providing free civil legal aid for the poor are included in the Voluntary Pro Bono Standard. The Pro Bono Standard calls for lawyers to annually take three pro bono cases, devote at least 30 hours of pro bono service or make a monetary contribution to a legal aid provider organization. Contributions to the Access to Justice Fund count toward fulfilling the standard.

The standard was amended in 2011 to increase the annual financial contribution from $300 to $500 for those whose income allows a higher contribution. This year's Circle of Excellence will include two tiers of recognition and will specially recognize those firms that have stepped up their aggregate contributions using a 30-hour and/or $500 standard. Firms that maintain contributions using the original 30-hour or $300 standard will also continue to be recognized for their support.

"Lawyers who contribute legal services and money to support civil legal aid for the poor are to be commended" said SBM President Brian Einhorn. "Law firms that demonstrate one hundred percent compliance with our voluntary standard will be recognized in the Circle of Excellence for their commitment to access to justice."

The Circle of Excellence is published frequently in the Michigan Bar Journal, posted on the State Bar of Michigan and the Michigan State Bar Foundation websites and is distributed at the SBM Annual Meeting. To apply for the Pro Bono Circle of Excellence, visit bit.ly/1cytUVx. For additional information, contact Rob Mathis, rmathis@mail.michbar.org or 517-346-6412.

Published: Mon, Mar 17, 2014