Missouri Supreme Court Judge’s Tool Kit on Pro Bono — Perspectives on Court Use of Pro Bono

A useful tool and model on pro bono for judges from the Missouri Supreme Court.

Here is an introductory letter from a Judge on the Court, Mary R. Russell, together with the Toolkit

Topics include:

  • A summary of the research as to the need.
  • Discussion of ethical guidelines and duties for judges and lawyers.
  • Information on existing pro bono programs.
  • Practical tips on promoting pro bono involvement including:
  • how to recruit volunteers,
  • how judges can accommodate pro bono practice,
  • how to collaborate with existing providers,
  • how to reduce expenses of pro bono attorneys,
  • how to fund programs,
  • ways of recognizing volunteer attorneys for their contribution.
  • Free malpractice protection for pro bono attorneys.
  • Use of limited scope representation to make pro bono work more time and cost efficient.
  • Focus on the special needs of rural areas.

Click here to visit the Table of Contents.

The Tool Kit was developed for the Missouri Supreme Court by its Committee on Access to Family Courts (CAFC), and particularly its subgroup on pro bono.  They invite suggestions to improve and further develop the Tool Kit.  Questions and suggestions can be addressed to Lou Defeo by email at LegalCare@midmosamaritan.org, or to the CAFC at cafc@mo.courts.gov cafc@courts.mo.gov.

Here is the California Courts Pro Bono Toolkit.

One interesting question is what is the best use of pro bono from the point of view of a court.  One good perspective is that pro bono should be used to make sure that there is access for those with the most complex cases, those that can not be helped by self-help center or court staff.  However, it is also true that there are many potential pro bono lawyers who would be much more involved if their obligations could be strictly limited in time, as are those of those who volunteer at self-help programs.  This may be particularly appealing to senior lawyers, or others who must restrict time commitments for family reasons.


About richardzorza

I am deeply involved in access to justice and the patient voice movement.
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