James J. Bell Outlines Three Things to Know About Reporting Pro Bono Hours
BGD attorney James J. Bell shared three things every attorney should know about pro bono work under the Rule 6.7 of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct in a recent Indiana Lawyer column.
According to Bell, the new rule will affect almost every practicing attorney, and there are three things to keep in mind when reporting mandatory pro bono hours. The first thing to be aware of is if you are not paid for services rendered, you may not report those as pro bono. If a client has stiffed you, these are not reportable pro bono hours. According to the new Rule 6.7(b)(1) of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct, “Reportable pro bono legal services are those legal services rendered directly to or for the benefit of persons reasonably perceived to be of limited means without charge or expectation of a fee by the lawyer at the time service commences.”
Hours that are spent serving the legal profession also does not qualify as pro bono service. Board meetings, teaching a free CLE, or law school class, or anything else that promotes the profession do not count. Rule 6.7(b)(3) is specific about this, stating that unless these activities were, “aimed at assisting persons of limited means,” they are not a reportable pursuant to Rule 6.7.
The Indiana Pro Bono Commission aspires to have every Indiana lawyer perform 50 hours of pro bono service a year. The current rule, however, does not set a minimum number that may be reported. The reporting requirement only requires a report of “approximately ___ hours of reportable pro bono legal services for the previous calendar year ending December 31. The rule also allows an attorney to report his or her financial contributions to certain legal services organizations.
Information received pursuant to Rule 6.7 will not be publicly disclosed on “an individual or firm-wide basis.”
Read “3 things to know about reporting pro bono hours” on the Indiana Lawyer website.