State Bar seeks applications for Pro Bono Circle of Excellence

Application deadline is March 29

The State Bar of Michigan invites all law firms of two or more attorneys to apply for the 2013 Pro Bono Circle of Excellence, which recognizes every firm that fully complied with the State Bar's Voluntary Pro Bono Standard during 2012.

Both volunteer legal services for low-income individuals and organizations and financial support for eligible nonprofit organizations providing free civil legal aid for the poor are included in the Voluntary Pro Bono Standard.

The standard calls for lawyers to annually take three pro bono cases, devote at least 30 hours of pro bono service, or make a monetary contribution to a legal aid provider organization. Contributions to the Access to Justice Fund (www.atjfund.org) count toward fulfilling the Standard.

"Firm participation in the Circle of Excellence has been a signature feature of the state bar's commitment to access to justice," said SBM President Bruce Courtade. "Strong pro bono and financial support for legal aid continues to be a priority item for the state bar and its members, especially because the funding cuts to legal aid continue and have been worsened by the sequestration situation we are in."

Applications for the 2013 circle are based on the original Voluntary Pro Bono Standard that has been in effect since 1990 and was recently amended to increase the annual financial contribution from $300 to $500 for those whose income allows a higher contribution.

The Circle of Excellence is published frequently in the Michigan Bar Journal, posted on the SBM and the Michigan State Bar Foundation websites, and distributed at the SBM Annual Meeting.

To apply for the Pro Bono Circle of Excellence, go to http://www.michbar.org/programs/ATJ/pdfs/CircleOfExcellence_app.pdf.

For more information, contact Rob Mathis at rmathis @mai l.michbar.org or 517-346-6412.

Published: Thu, Mar 21, 2013

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