The Supreme Court’s Pro Bono Reporting Rule and You

All Illinois lawyers can expect to receive their annual ARDC registration statements this month, which again will include questions about their pro bono work and related financial contributions over the past year pursuant to the pro bono reporting requirement adopted by the Supreme Court in 2006. If you haven’t taken a pro bono case or made a financial contribution yet this year, it’s not too late. There’s still time for you to get involved and contribute before you complete your registration, and below are some resources to help you do that.

As the Comments to the amended Rule 756(f) of the Illinois Supreme Court Rules underscore, the pro bono reporting requirement is intended to serve as an annual reminder to Illinois lawyers that pro bono legal service is an integral part of a lawyer’s professionalism. Rule 756(f) requires all attorneys licensed in Illinois to report, in connection with the attorney’s annual ARDC registration, pro bono legal services provided and qualified monetary contributions made during the preceding 12 months.

Pro Bono Resources

The CBF is your source for a number of helpful resources for CBA members who want to do pro bono work but aren’t sure where to start. Check out the CBF’s Pro Bono page for more information. This year’s Pro Bono Week events offer a great opportunity to learn more and get involved as well.

Qualifying Financial Contributions under the Rule

Providing your financial support for local pro bono and legal aid organizations is just as important an investment as donating your time, as lawyers depend on these organizations to be their partners in pro bono work. Pro bono and legal aid organizations provide the necessary infrastructure to support pro bono work for area lawyers and law firms (i.e., pro bono programs with solid screening, referral, training and support functions for volunteers). These programs also provide critical legal assistance to the most vulnerable members of our community in matters where pro bono is not a practical solution.

Lawyers can make qualifying contributions under the Rule to the CBF, which supports all of the major pro bono and legal aid organizations serving the Chicago area, and by contributing directly to one of these many outstanding organizations. Check out the CBF website for more information. For those with offices outside of Cook County, more information on organizations that qualify under the Rule is available at Illinois Legal Aid Online.

Additional Questions about the Rule

The CBF is here to help you with other questions about the Rule as well. Contact Samira Nazem, CBF Director of Pro Bono & Court Advocacy, at 312-554-8356 or snazem@chicagobar.org.

Pro Bono Week is coming up October 23-27! Attendance is free, but make sure to register for CLE sessions, the second-annual Story Slam, or the Pro Bono Fair here.