Chief Justice Baer Encourages PA Attorneys to Support Legal Aid and Provide Pro Bono Service
Max Baer, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, directed a letter to attorneys across Pennsylvania, joining with new Pennsylvania Bar Association President Jay Silberblatt, in celebrating the rich tradition of Pennsylvania lawyers in supporting legal aid and pro bono service for the neediest among us.
The Chief Justice stated that promoting legal aid and pro bono legal services has been a major emphasis of his time on the Court and noted that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court supports civil legal aid in a variety of ways, from funding a loan forgiveness program for legal services practitioners to making it easier for retired attorneys to provide pro bono service through Emeritus Status. The Court has also approved awarding continuing legal education (CLE) credits for pro bona service with authorized providers.
He stated that, although every lawyer in Pennsylvania will once again contribute in 2022 to civil legal aid through the IOLTA portion of the attorney annual licensing fee, it is the volunteer efforts, whether in direct representation of clients or through further financial support, that most greatly impact those in need, especially as we move out of the pandemic.
The Chief Justice recognized that the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, in partnership with our regional legal aid providers and a network of specialty legal aid programs, helps provide the framework and structure for legal assistance for the poor, and that Pro Bono attorneys, encouraged by the Pennsylvania Bar Association and local bars to fulfill their aspirational duty under Rule 6.1 to "render public interest legal service", provide time and financial contributions to help fuel the important work of representing those clients who have critical needs but cannot afford to retain private counsel. He further recognized the efforts of our law schools to inculcate the values of pro bono service in the next generation of Pennsylvania lawyers through law school legal aid clinics.
Attorneys were encouraged to examine Pennsylvania Free Legal Answers, PALawHelp.org, and PAProbono.net, websites promoted by the PA Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, to see what resources are available to those in need and what opportunities exist for pro bono service.
- Pro Bono