- Significant increase in number of attorneys volunteering services -
The chief judges of the DC Court of Appeals and the DC Superior Court have released their seventh annual Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll, recognizing the contributions of those D.C. Bar members and others authorized to perform legal work who donated 50 hours or more of pro bono service during the last calendar year. The Courts extend their gratitude to the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center and the D.C. Access to Justice Commission for their partnership in sponsoring the Honor Roll.
Over 4800 attorneys reported performing 50 hours or more of volunteer legal work in 2017. Even more impressive, more than 60% of them (over 2900 attorneys) reported performing 100 hours or more of pro bono work in 2017, qualifying them for inclusion in the High Honor Roll. Despite greater pressures to bill more hours, work more efficiently, and use fewer resources, this year’s Honor Roll represents an increase of 11% over 2016. D.C. lawyers contributed more than 388,000 total hours, or roughly 44 years’ worth, of pro bono service in 2017.
In a joint letter to the honorees, DC Court of Appeals Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby and Superior Court Chief Judge Robert E. Morin wrote, "As Chief Judges, we are acutely aware of the severe hardships faced by indigent individuals who all too often must represent themselves in proceedings in the DC Courts, frequently when the opposing party has counsel. We salute you for using your talents and expertise to help those unable to afford an attorney, to ensure that they too have equal access to justice."
Honor Roll members reflect a diverse cross-section of the DC legal community, representing 155 law firms and scores of solo practices, federal government agencies, and public interest organizations. The Chief Judges said "It is deeply gratifying to see that DC Bar members’ commitment to pro bono spans across all different aspects of practice."
In addition to this recognition from the DC Courts, all Honor Roll members satisfy their professional obligation under Rule 6.1 of the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct by performing 50 hours or more of pro bono service. Outside of this professional obligation, Honor Roll members performing pro bono work in the DC Courts demonstrate an impressive commitment to serving their District neighbors.
The Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll and Chief Judges' joint letter are available on the courts' website at https://www.dccourts.gov/about/pro-bono-honor-roll and also at www.capitalprobono.net .