PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION RESOLUTION TO ADOPT THE 2017 PRO BONO TASK FORCE REPORT
WHEREAS, in December, 2001, Chancellor Allan Gordon appointed a Pro Bono Task Force to rigorously and comprehensively evaluate the need for, and the delivery of, pro bono legal services to the needy, disadvantaged and disenfranchised in Philadelphia; and
WHEREAS, the 2002 Pro Bono Task Force issued a comprehensive report with recommendations to the legal community to renew and expand its commitment to the delivery of pro bono legal services; and
WHEREAS, every lawyer has a professional obligation to provide free legal services for the public good as set forth in Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct; and
WHEREAS, in December, 2016, Chancellor Deborah R. Gross appointed a new Pro Bono Task Force, chaired by the Honorable Annette M. Rizzo (Ret.) and John P. Lavelle, Jr., and reflecting the diversity of perspectives in the Philadelphia legal community, to examine the state of pro bono legal services in Philadelphia, to report on how far we have come in the intervening fifteen years, and to provide recommendations to encourage and expand pro bono work; and
WHEREAS, the 2017 Pro Bono Task Force sought to build on the foundation laid in the 2002 report to assess what progress has been made in implementing the recommendations made in that report, and to provide recommendations to continue progress in the future; and
WHEREAS, the 2017 Pro Bono Task Force divided into four subcommittees (Private Practice; Public Interest Organizations; In-House and Government; and Attorneys In Transition and Legal Assistants) to gather data identifying challenges and obstacles to pro bono work, and recommending specific actionable solutions; and
WHEREAS, the four subcommittees reconvened and composed the 2017 Pro Bono Task Force Report, a comprehensive guide to the challenges facing the provision of pro bono services in each of the four categories and offering actionable solutions to increase pro bono participation, harness the untapped potential within groups of attorneys who presently do not engage in pro bono activities, enhance coordination among pro bono programs and provide much needed support to a greater share of those in need.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association Board of Governors adopts the 2017 Pro Bono Task Force Report attached hereto;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Large Firm Pro Bono Committee name will be changed to the Law Firm Pro Bono Committee to encourage all size firms to participate in the committee, to broaden its reach and promote more engagement and best practices;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Bar Association encourages and supports the Law Firm Pro Bono Committee to set up a mentoring program to assist firms that are newly engaged in pro bono work;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Bar Association will take additional actions to implement recommendations of the Task Force report such as improving its website to provide information on opportunities to volunteer and be a clearinghouse for the legal aid nonprofit organizations by providing coordination and data gathering; by continuing the Pro Bono Open House Program, the Pro Bono Road Shows and supporting the Public Interest Section and the Delivery of Legal Services Committee.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chancellor and/or the Chancellor's designee(s) shall communicate its position to the legal profession and the public and take such other action as may be necessary to effectuate this Resolution.
PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: December 12, 2017