As of March 1, 2013, the Legal Information Institute is no longer maintaining the information in the American Legal Ethics Library. It is no longer possible for us to maintain it at a level of completeness and accuracy given its staffing needs. It is very possible that we will revive it at a future time. At this point, it is in need of a complete technological renovation and reworking of the "correspondent firm" model which successfully sustained it for many years.
Many people have contributed time and effort to the project over the years, and we would like to thank them. In particular, Roger Cramton and Peter Martin not only conceived ALEL but gave much of their own labor to it. We are also grateful to Brad Wendel for his editorial contributions, to Brian Toohey and all at Jones Day for their efforts, and to all of our correspondents and contributors. Thank you.
We regret any inconvenience.
 Every lawyer, regardless
of professional prominence or professional work load, has a responsibility
to provide legal services to those unable to pay, and personal involvement
in the problems of the disadvantaged can be one of the most rewarding experiences
in the life of a lawyer. The American Bar Association urges all lawyers to
provide a minimum of 50 hours of pro bono services annually. States, however,
may decide to choose a higher or lower number of hours of annual service (which
may be expressed as a percentage of a lawyer's professional time) depending
upon local needs and local conditions. It is recognized that in some years
a lawyer may render greater or fewer hours than the annual standard specified,
but during the course of his or her legal career, each lawyer should render
on average per year, the number of hours set forth in this Rule. Services
can be performed in civil matters or in criminal or quasi-criminal matters
for which there is no government obligation to provide funds for legal representation,
such as post-conviction death penalty appeal cases.
 Paragraphs (a)(1) and
(2) recognize the critical need for legal services that exists among persons
of limited means by providing that a substantial
majority of the legal services rendered annually to the disadvantaged
be furnished without fee or expectation of fee. Legal services under these
paragraphs consist of a full range of activities, including individual and
class representation, the provision of legal advice, legislative lobbying,
administrative rule making and the provision of free training or mentoring
to those who represent persons of limited means. The variety of these activities
should facilitate participation by government lawyers, even when restrictions
exist on their engaging in the outside practice of law.
 Persons eligible
for legal services under paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) are those who qualify for
participation in programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation and those
whose incomes and financial resources are slightly above the guidelines utilized
by such programs but nevertheless, cannot afford counsel. Legal services can
be rendered to individuals or to organizations such as homeless shelters,
battered women's centers and food pantries that serve those of limited means.
The term "governmental organizations" includes, but is not limited to, public
protection programs and sections of governmental or public sector agencies.
 Because service must
be provided without fee or expectation of fee, the intent of the lawyer to
render free legal services is essential for the work performed to fall within
the meaning of paragraphs (a)(1) and (2). Accordingly, services rendered cannot
be considered pro bono if an anticipated fee is uncollected, but the award
of statutory attorneys' fees in a case originally accepted as pro bono would
not disqualify such services from inclusion under this section. Lawyers who
do receive fees in such cases are encouraged to contribute an appropriate
portion of such fees to organizations or projects that benefit persons of
 While it is possible
for a lawyer to fulfill the annual responsibility to perform pro bono services
exclusively through activities described in paragraphs (a)(1) and (2), to
the extent that any hours of service remained unfulfilled, the remaining commitment
can be met in a variety of ways as set forth in paragraph (b). Constitutional,
statutory or regulatory restrictions may prohibit or impede government and
public sector lawyers and judges from performing the pro bono services outlined
in paragraphs (a)(1) and (2). Accordingly, where those restrictions apply,
government and public sector lawyers and judges may fulfill their pro bono
responsibility by performing services outlined in paragraph (b).
 Paragraph (b)(1)
includes the provision of certain types of legal services to those whose incomes
and financial resources place them above limited means. It also permits the
pro bono lawyer to accept a substantially reduced fee for services. Examples
of the types of issues that may be addressed under this paragraph include
First Amendment claims, Title VII claims and environmental protection claims.
Additionally, a wide range of organizations may be represented, including
social service, medical research, cultural and religious groups.
 Paragraph (b)(2)
covers instances in which lawyers agree to and receive a modest fee for furnishing
legal services to persons of limited means. Participation in judicare programs
and acceptance of court appointments in which the fee is substantially below
a lawyer's usual rate are encouraged under this section.
 Paragraph (b)(3)
recognizes the value of lawyers engaging in activities that improve the law,
the legal system or the legal profession. Serving on bar association committees,
serving on boards of pro bono or legal services programs, taking part in Law
Day activities, acting as a continuing legal education instructor, a mediator
or an arbitrator and engaging in legislative lobbying to improve the law,
the legal system or the profession are a few examples of the many activities
that fall within this paragraph.
 Because the provision
of pro bono services is a professional responsibility, it is the individual
ethical commitment of each lawyer. Nevertheless, there may be times when it
is not feasible for a lawyer to engage in pro bono services. At such times
a lawyer may discharge the pro bono responsibility by providing financial
support to organizations providing free legal services to persons of limited
means. Such financial support should be reasonably
equivalent to the value of the hours of service that would have otherwise
been provided. In addition, at times it may be more feasible to satisfy the
pro bono responsibility collectively, as by a firm's aggregate pro bono activities.
 Because the efforts
of individual lawyers are not enough to meet the need for free legal services
that exists among persons of limited means, the government and the profession
have instituted additional programs to provide those services. Every lawyer
should financially support such programs, in addition to either providing
direct pro bono services or making financial contributions when pro bono service
is not feasible.
firms should act reasonably to enable
and encourage all lawyers in the firm to provide the pro bono legal services
called for by this Rule.
 The responsibility set
forth in this Rule is not intended to be enforced through disciplinary process.