Oct. 19, 2011 – The State Bar’s Legal Assistance Committee is soliciting applications for Pro Bono Initiative grants from members or organizations to develop, support, or expand pro bono legal services projects in their communities. Two types of grants, up to $5,000 are available. “The success of the Pro Bono Initiative depends on individual and organizational ingenuity to expand our culture of giving back through pro bono service,” says State Bar Pro Bono Coordinator Jeffery Brown.
According to Brown, “The fragile economy has increased the need for civil legal aid to the poor, but funding for the full-time programs that provide those services has dropped along with the economy. Our State Bar Pro Bono Surveys have repeatedly shown that volunteer lawyers are a key means of delivering legal services to low-income and disadvantaged people in Wisconsin. Clearly, many lawyers want to help bridge the justice gap.”
The Pro Bono Initiative, approved by the Board of Governors in May 2004, has been a steady source of State Bar support for pro bono in Wisconsin. In addition to the grants, it also encompasses a number of member benefits such as free LexisNexis time for pro bono cases, free malpractice insurance coverage for volunteer service in State Bar-sponsored pro bono projects and reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses that members incur handling pro bono cases (filing fees, mileage, copying, etc.).
The State Bar Pro Bono Initiative is a statewide-coordinated program to support, recognize, and increase lawyers’ volunteer legal efforts. In collaboration with the judiciary, legal services providers, and local bar organizations, the initiative works to improve public access to the legal system by promoting solutions that eliminate barriers to effective access to the civil justice system.
Applications for grants must be received at the State Bar by Nov. 30. This year, smaller mini-grants are also available. See the Legal Assistance Committee web page for details on how to apply. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as requests are received and funds remain available. For more information, contact org jbrown wisbar Brown at (608) 250-6177, or (800) 444-9404, ext. 6177.