What Does Pro Bono Mean?

The word Pro Bono comes from the Latin word Pro bono publico, which means “for the good of the people.”

The legal definition of Pro Bono is an act of professional services done for free or a substantially lower price.

Most common Pro Bono cases are children or elderly people who do not have the means to afford an attorney for their legal cases.

At least 40% of low-income households experience a legal problem once a year; typically 20% of these needs get met.

There are multiple opportunities for Pro Bono cases.

Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to low-income people.

According to the ABA Model Rule 6.1, every lawyer should aim to provide at least 50 hours of Pro Bono services every year.

Are Pro Bono Cases Important?


Pro Bono cases are important for many different reasons.

  • Most importantly, they provide benefit to people in need or those who would otherwise not be able to afford legal help.
  • Firms that regularly take Pro Bono cases may recruit more lawyers.
  • Pro Bono cases are great ways for young lawyers to build their reputation and build their skills.
  • You can build networks by doing Pro Bono cases for charities and non-profit organizations. Networking is a great way to gain potential referrals.
  • You gain recognition. Most bar associations will give rewards to lawyers who are involved in their Pro Bono programs.

Want To Get Involved In Pro Bono Opportunities?

All state and local bar associations have Pro Bono committees where lawyers can get involved and volunteer their time.

If you want more information you can check out National Pro Bono Opportunities Guide to find out how you can volunteer your time.

Do you or someone you know have a legal issue but cannot afford to seek legal guidance?