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Pro Bono Legal Service
Introduction to Pro Bono Legal Service

“Pro Bono” derives from the Latin phrase Pro Bono public, which means “for the public good.” The term is used within the legal profession to refer to lawyers’ provision of free legal services to individuals, charitable organizations and groups without access to such services.

Pro Bono can be defined as having certain of the following characteristics:

  • · Legal work done by and expertise of lawyers;
  • · For the public good;
  • · Free for the client;
  • · Voluntary and uncompensated for the lawyer;
  • · Delivered with the same professional standard as paid legal work.

Pro Bono is not a substitute for legal aid. It is a necessary supplement because unmet legal needs exist in every society no matter how robust a state’s organized legal aid system. Pro Bono legal services shall be lawyers’ commitment arising from their desire to take care of the disadvantaged and assume social responsibilities, rather than a mandatory obligation.

The American Bar Association (ABA) encourages a lawyer to render at least fifty hours of Pro Bono legal services per year. The New York State Bar Association provides that legal interns must offer fifty hours of Pro Bono legal services before becoming a practicing lawyer since January 1, 2013.

The Australian Bar Association encourages lawyers to offer at least thirty five hours of Pro Bono legal services per year.

The International Association of Korean Lawyers asks lawyers to provide at least thirty hours of Pro Bono legal services per year, and a lawyer may donate an amount at the rate of 20,000-30,000 KRW per hour if he or she is unable to provide such services with reasonable causes.

The Law Society of Singapore also encourages lawyers to render at least twenty five hours of Pro Bono legal services per year.

The value of Pro Bono legal services provided by British lawyers in 2007 equaled to the amount accounting for two percent of the total charges earned by those lawyers in the same year.

International Bar Association (IBA) adopted a resolution of its Council in October 2008, advocating lawyers around the world to provide at least twenty hours or three business days of Pro Bono legal services per year.