Overview • Part I - Introduction to Pro Bono Service • Part II - Summary of Florida State Law’s Program • Part III - Professionalism: The Florida Bar’s Guidelines for Professional Conduct • Part IV - Getting Started
Part One Introduction to Pro Bono Service
What is Pro Bono Service? • Pro bono service is defined as legal work designed to present a position on behalf of the public at large on matters of public interest. • Pro bono service does not include the direct representation of litigants in actions between private persons, corporations, or others in which the financial interests at stake would warrant representation from private legal sources.
The Importance of Pro Bono Service The legal profession is, at its foundation, about service: service to individuals, to organizations, and to private and public entities. "Public service" however has a special meaning for the legal profession. This meaning may be debatable around the edges, but at its core is the responsibility of the profession to insure access to justice for all by meeting not only the legal needs of those who can afford a lawyer but also the legal needs of those individuals and communities that cannot. http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/probono/lawschools/
Law Schools and Pro Bono Service FSU College of law is not unique in its recognition of the importance of pro bono service by its students. In recent years, more than 100 law schools throughout the nation have implemented structured school-wide pro bono programs and/or pro bono opportunities for their law students.
A Sampling of Law Schools with Pro Bono Requirements • Columbia University • Florida State University • Georgetown University • Northeastern University • University of Maryland • University of Pennsylvania • University of Washington • Valparaiso University • William & Mary College
Why Is Pro Bono Required? • The American Bar Association (ABA) has set forth a lawyer’s pro bono responsibility in Model Rule 6.1, which encourages lawyers to aspire to render at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services per year without fee or expectation of fee to persons of limited means or to organizations designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means. • In Florida, Rule 4-6.1 of the Florida Bar Rules provides that pro bono service is part of the lawyer’s professional responsibility.
How Pro Bono Service Benefits Students Increase knowledge Gain practical experience Develop fundamental skills and values Explore alternative career opportunities Establish mentorship relationships
Listing Pro Bono Service on Your Resume • For many students, pro bono experience may be the only legal-related experience they have at this early stage in their law school careers. • Include pro bono service on your resume, listing where you worked and the nature of the work you performed.
Mentorship Opportunities • Pro Bono service provides law students the opportunity to work closely with attorneys serving the public interest on a variety of interesting and important issues. • Many students develop strong working relationships with the attorneys they assist and these connections extend beyond the time they work on the pro bono project.
Part Two: Summary of Florida State Law’s Pro Bono Program
Pro Bono Service is aGraduation Requirement • In order to graduate from the College of Law, students are REQUIRED to complete 20 hours of pro bono service. • Students who elect to complete 40 or more hours receive a certificate of Outstanding Pro Bono Service.
Students must be in their second or third year to receive credit for pro bono hours. First Year Students • For the purposes of the pro bono program, you will be considered a 2L after you take your last final exam this Spring. • Many students choose to do their pro bono the summer after their first year. 2L 3L
How Pro Bono Work is Definedby the College of Law To qualify as pro bono work, it must meet these conditions: • Cannot receive compensation for work • Work must be completed under supervision of an attorney • Nature of work must be on behalf of the public interest and civil in nature* *with limited exceptions
Receive No Compensation In order to qualify as pro bono service, you cannot receive any compensation in connection with the work you perform.
Attorney Supervision All pro bono service must be supervised by an attorney, who then verifies that you have completed your hours by signing a Pro Bono Completion Form.
Nature of the Work To receive credit for your pro bono service, the work must be on behalf of: • Disadvantaged minority; • Victims of racial, sexual, or other forms of discrimination; • Those denied human and civil rights or; • Other work on behalf of the public interest
Civil in Nature The pro bono service generally must be civil in nature. There are limited exceptions to this rule: You may receive pro bono credit for working with a Public Defender’s Office or a State Attorney’s Office.
Identifying a Pro Bono Site There are a variety of opportunities available to you, including but not limited to: • Private Law Firms • Non-Profit Organizations • Working with faculty members on special projects Students are able to perform pro bono service at countless locations. Service can be conducted anywhere in the country, provided the nature of the work falls within the parameters of the program.
Identifying a Pro Bono Site For your convenience, the Student Affairs Office maintains a list of pre-approved sites, most of which are located here in Tallahassee. This list is available in Room 206 and online at: http://www.law.fsu.edu/current_students/ student_affairs/pro_bono.php
Identifying a Pro Bono Site Students are able to perform pro bono service at countless locations. Service can be conducted anywhere in the country, provided the nature of the work falls within the parameters of the program.
Pre-Approved Sites The Pre-Approved Sites List contains contact information about organizations that are familiar with the College of Law pro bono program and have accommodated law students in the past. Law students have had many successful experiences at these sites. It is your responsibility to contact the supervising attorney at a particular site to inquire about available pro bono opportunities. Keep in mind that not all locations have opportunities at all times.
Pre-Approved Sites Some of the most popular pre-approved sites include: • Family Law Assistance Program • Teen Court • Trust for Public Land • Guardian Ad Litem • Children’s Advocacy Center • EarthJustice • Legal Environment Assistance Foundation
Other Locations • You are not limited to sites on the Pre-Approved Sites lists. If you identify an opportunity elsewhere, submit the Pro Bono Registration Form to the Student Affairs Office, Room 206, BEFORE you complete any hours. • We will ensure that the site is acceptable and sign-off that you will receive credit for hours performed at that location. We return the signed form to you. Save your copy for your records.
Other Locations If you find a pro bono opportunity at a site that is not pre-approved, fill out the yellow Pro Bono Registration Form, found in Room 206 and online at http://www.law.fsu.edu/ current_students/student_affairs/pro_bono.php
Types of Responsibilities The types of work students perform depends on the chosen site. Generally students are involved in: • Researching • Writing memoranda • Preparing for trial • Drafting documents • Investigating • Interviewing
Receiving Credit Once you have completed your hours at a location, you need to submit the green Pro Bono Completion Form. The form can be found in Room 206 or online at http://www.law.fsu.edu/ current_students/student_affairs/pro_bono.php
Receiving Credit If you work for multiple locations, you must submit a separate form for each location. The form requires your supervising attorney to sign off on the total number of hours performed. You do not need to submit a time-sheet. Submit the form to the Student Affairs Office. Within several days, you will receive a signed copy of the form. Save your copy for your records.
Pro Bono Deadline Your 20 hours of pro bono service must be completed 30 days before your graduation. You will not be certified to graduate until you have met the pro bono requirement. Plan ahead!
PartThree Rules of Professional Conduct
Florida Bar Rules • Familiarize yourself with some important rules relating to Professional Conduct before you begin your pro bono service. • The Florida Rules of Professional Conduct are located on the Florida Bar’s website at http://www.floridabar.org
Rules of Professional Conduct • The Florida Bar has established rules that govern the relationship between lawyers and their clients. • The following slides present an overview of some of those regulations that you should be familiar with when doing your pro bono work.
Rule 4-1.1 Competence A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.
4-1.2 (e)Scope of Representation Limitation on Lawyer’s Conduct When a lawyer knows or reasonably should know that a client expects assistance not permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct or by law, the lawyer shall consult with the client regarding the relevant limitations on the lawyer’s conduct.
Rule 4-1.3Diligence A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence in representing a client.
Rule 4-1.4(a)Communication Informing Client of Status of Representation A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.
Rule 4-1.6Confidentiality of Information Consent Required to Reveal Information A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to representation of a client (except under limited circumstances) unless the client consents after disclosure to the client. Limited circumstances are set forth in subdivisions (b), (c) and (d) of the rule
Rule 4-1.7Conflict of Interest Representing Adverse Interests A lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation of that client will be directly adverse to the interests of another client unless • The lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not adversely affect the lawyer’s responsibilities to and relationship with the other client; and • Each client consents after consultation.
Rule 4-2.1Adviser In representing a client, a lawyer shall exercise independent professional judgment and render candid advice. In rendering advice the lawyer may refer not only to law but to other considerations such as moral, economic, social and political factors that may be relevant to the client’s situation.
Rule 4-3.3Candor Toward the Tribunal False Evidence: Duty to Disclose A lawyer shall not knowingly: • Make false statement of material fact or law to a tribunal • Fail to disclose a material fact • Fail to disclose legal authority in controlling jurisdiction known to be adverse to position • Permit any witness to offer testimony known to be false
Rule 4-3.4Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel Fair competition in the adversary system is secured by prohibitions against destruction or concealment of evidence, improperly influencing witnesses, obstructive tactics in discovery procedure, and the like. See rule for specific prohibitions.
Rule 4-4.1Truthfulness in Statements to Others In the course of representing a client a lawyer shall not knowingly: • Make false statement of material fact or law to a third person; or • Fail to disclose a material fact to a third person when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by a client unless disclosure is prohibited by rule 4-1.6.
Rule 4-6.1Pro Bono Public Service Each member of the Florida Bar in good standing, as part of that member’s professional responsibility, should • Render pro bono legal services to the poor and • Participate, to the extent possible, in other pro bono service activities that directly relate to the legal needs of the poor.
Receive Credit for Orientation & Hours This online orientation should be completed BEFORE you start your pro bono. When you complete your hours, you must certify on the form that you completed this online orientation prior to the start of your pro bono work. You will not receive any pro bono credit until we have received your signed certification form.
If You Have Any Questions… Contact: The Office of Student Affairs Room 206 644-7338 firstname.lastname@example.org