“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” – Albert Einstein
Did you know that there are Maryland Rules on Pro Bono Legal Service? Rule 16-812 (Rule 6.1 Pro Bono Publico Service) of the Maryland Rules is an aspirational (not mandatory) rule that provides that “[a] lawyer has a professional responsibility to render pro bono publico legal service”* and suggests a minimum 50 hours of pro bono service each year.
There are many ways to provide pro bono legal service.
◙ You can provide legal service (without charging a fee or at a substantially reduced rate) to “(A) people of limited means; (B) charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, or educational organizations in matters designed primarily to address the needs of people of limited means; (C) individuals, groups, or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties, or public rights; or (D) charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, or educational organizations in matters in furtherance of their organizational purposes when the payment of the standard legal fees would significantly deplete the organization’s economic resources or would otherwise be inappropriate.”
◙ You can also participate in activities to “improv[e] the law, the legal system, or the legal profession.”
◙ You can provide financial support to organizations providing pro bono legal services.
In addition, Rules 16-901, 16-902 and 16-903 address pro bono standing committees at the state and local level as well as mandatory reporting of pro bono legal service.
Do you have questions about the Maryland Rules on Pro Bono Legal Service? A great place to start is the FAQ section available on the Maryland Courts website. The Law Library is also always available to assist.*All quotations, unless noted otherwise, are attributable to Rule 16-812 of the Maryland Rules, which are available online at https://govt.westlaw.com/mdc/Browse/Home/Maryland/MarylandCodeCourtRules?transitionType=Default&contextData=(sc.Default)#N105FF040B79311DBB4ACEAAAE7EB7386.