pro bono

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Pro bono refers to free legal services provided voluntarily by lawyers, law firms, and law schools. It is Law Latin shortened from “pro bono publico,” which means “for the public good.” Pro bono services are typically provided to indigent or other disadvantaged persons or to advance causes considered to be in the public interest.

The American Bar Association (ABA) provides in its Model Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC) Rule 6.1 that “every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay,” and “should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono publico legal services per year.” According to the rule, a lawyer also should “voluntarily contribute financial support to organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means.”

[Last updated in February of 2024 by the Wex Definitions Team]