North Carolina Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1 encourages North Carolina attorneys to engage in a variety of activities to increase access to justice:
– at least 50 hours each year of pro bono legal services to clients who are unable to pay, without fee or expectation of fee (this category solely leads to recognition through the North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society);
– legal services provided at a substantially reduced fee;
– activities to improve the law, the legal system, or the legal profession;
– non-legal community service; and
– financial support to legal service providers.
For more information about the above activities included in Rule 6.1, please visit the Reporting Frequently Asked Questions.
Comment 12 suggests that lawyers should report information about those services “in order that such service might be recognized and serve as an inspiration to others.” Each year, the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center provides a venue for this voluntary reporting, joining 22 other states in collecting information about pro bono activities included in Rule 6.1.
There are four major reasons to report your pro bono legal service: (1) it’s a way to showcase attorney volunteerism in North Carolina — we want to share the good work being done by the legal profession in our state; (2) it’s an opportunity to encourage your peers to grow their pro bono involvement by sharing about your own engagement; (3) it’s a mechanism to identify areas to grow pro bono efforts in North Carolina; and (4) it’s an opportunity for recognition — North Carolina licensed attorneys (or attorneys who provide services under North Carolina Pro Bono Practice Status) who report at least 50 hours of pro bono legal service in a year will be inducted into that year’s cohort of the North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society and receive a certificate from the Supreme Court of North Carolina recognizing their achievement. Reporters may elect to opt out of recognition if preferred. To view information about the North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society and each year’s cohort, view this page.
The pro bono reporting form is available from January 1st to March 31st each year, collecting information about activities from the prior year. To assist you in tracking this information throughout the year, feel free to download and use this Tracking Worksheet.
If your firm or organization is interested in submitting information on behalf of its attorneys, please contact Sylvia Novinsky, Director of the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.