The State Bar of Michigan invites all law firms of two or more attorneys to apply for the 2015 Pro Bono Circle of Excellence, which recognizes every firm that fully complied with the State Bar's Voluntary Pro Bono Standard during 2014. The application deadline is 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 Pro Bono Standard now asks lawyers to make an annual financial contribution of $500 for those whose income allows a higher contribution. It continues to recognize lawyers who maintain the original (1999) recommended contribution of $300. Those firms whose aggregate contributions of 30 hours of service and/or a $500 standard were recognized last year in a new Leadership Level. The 2015 Circle of Excellence will continue to include two tiers of recognition – the higher contribution Leadership Level, and the original 30-hour or $300 standard.
"We are extremely proud of the increased number of law firms that appeared on last year's Circle of Excellence," SBM President Tom Rombach said. "Fifty four firms achieved that recognition, up from the previous year's 45 firms. We especially laud the 23 firms who achieved the new Leadership Level, and we continue to encourage firms to establish a presence on the Circle at either the original or the Leadership Level." Rombach also noted that individual lawyers who meet the Pro Bono Standard are celebrated locally through their Access to Justice programs, and in the SBM A Lawyer Helps program.
The Circle of Excellence is published frequently in the Michigan Bar Journal, posted on the SBM and the Michigan State Bar Foundation websites, and is distributed at the SBM Annual meeting. Apply for the Pro Bono Circle of Excellence. For more information, contact Robert Mathis at firstname.lastname@example.org or (517) 346-6412.
Posted by Samantha Meinke