What is Pro Bono?
Pro bono publico is a Latin term meaning “for the public good.” While there are various definitions throughout the country of what constitutes pro bono, the Illinois Supreme Court has adopted Rule 756(f), which defines pro bono as:
- legal services without charge or expectation of a fee to persons of limited means;
- legal services to charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental or educational organizations in matters designed to
address the needs of persons of limited means;
- legal services to charitable, religious, civic or community organizations in furtherance of their organizational purpose; or
- training intended to benefit legal aid organizations or lawyers who provide pro bono services.
Why do Pro Bono?
Members of the legal profession are uniquely positioned to make a difference for low-income and underrepresented individuals and families with legal needs at a time when the need has never been greater. The number of people living in or near poverty in Illinois – one third of the population of the state, or over 4 million people – has been rising steadily, while funding for legal aid programs continues to shrink. Pro bono attorneys can help meet the growing demand for legal services, making equal access to justice not just a dream, but a reality for people and families in need.