Get Involved: Pro Bono opportunities guide now available online

Issue October 2006

For many years, the Massachusetts Bar Association has offered to its membership an opportunity to access statewide and local organizations that are in need of pro bono services from attorneys, law students and paralegals. These services can range from actual client representation to the training of staff. The MBA and the Massachusetts Bar Foundation support attorneys in the commonwealth in their efforts to provide pro bono services to those of limited means. Listed on the MBA Web site are more than 100 agencies with a wide range of legal needs.

For your information, the Massachusetts Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1 states that for an attorney to qualify for contributing to the pro bono service, they should provide at least 25 hours of pro bono publico legal services annually for the benefit of persons of limited means. In providing these professional services, the lawyer should:

(a) Provide all or most of the 25 hours of pro bono publico legal services without compensation or expectation of compensation to persons of limited means, or to charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters that are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means. The lawyer may provide any remaining hours by delivering legal services at substantially reduced compensation to persons of limited means or by participating in activities for improving the law, the legal system or the legal profession that are primarily intended to benefit persons of limited means; or,

(b) Contribute from $250 to 1 percent of the lawyer's annual taxable, professional income to one or more organizations that provide or support legal services to persons of limited means.

Please note that there have been several new listings added in the last month and please be sure to check back throughout the year to stay aware of seasonal opportunities or late additions to the guide.

Other ways to Get Involved
Over the course of the fall, the Community Services Department will be recruiting volunteers for the Mock Trial Program and Job Shadow Day 2007:

Mock Trial
In preparation for the 22nd Annual Statewide Mock Trial Program, the MBA invites you to volunteer as an attorney coach or judge.

Open to all public and private high school students in Massachusetts, the Mock Trial Program is a rich curriculum that promotes the development of fundamental knowledge, sound judgment and critical thinking skills. In Mock Trial, students are placed in a simulated courtroom situation where they assume the roles of lawyers and witnesses in a hypothetical case.

Members are needed to coach a team in their community or to serve as judges in the trials that take place throughout the state. To volunteer, call (617) 338-0570.

Job Shadow
On Friday, Feb. 2, 2007, the MBA's annual Job Shadow Day will provide students with an opportunity to "shadow" an attorney for the day. The purpose of Job Shadow Day is to broaden students' understanding of the law, introduce them to the variety of careers available in the legal field and foster their respect for the legal system.

Attorneys from all areas of law are welcome to participate. We are especially seeking attorneys who are located (or can spend the day) in the cities of Boston, Worcester or Springfield. During Job Shadow Day, attorneys are encouraged to visit their local courthouse and introduce the young people to other legal professionals inside and outside their offices.