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pro bono, adj \ˌprō-ˈbō-(ˌ)nō\
Short for pro bono publico [Latin, For the public good]. 

What is pro bono?

The designation given to the free legal work done by an attorney for indigent clients and religious, charitable, and other nonprofit entities. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Why is pro bono important?

The need for legal services among the poor is overwhelming.

According to an American Bar Association study, at least 40 percent of low and moderate-income households experience a legal problem each year. Yet studies show that the collective civil legal aid effort is meeting only about 20 percent of the legal needs of low-income people. (

Due to the limited amount of government-funded legal services, pro bono has become a critical way of ensuring access to justice for the indigent and underrepresented.

Our Pro Bono Challenge Partners:

  • Bar Association of Baltimore City Legal Services to the Elderly Program
  • CASA de Maryland
  • Community Law Center, Inc.
  • Esperanza Center, Catholic Charities of Baltimore
  • Homeless Persons Representation Project
  • House of Ruth
  • Immigration Legal Services, Catholic Charities of Washington, D.C.
  • The Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education Inc. Maryland Crime Victim's Resource Center
  • Maryland Disability Law Center
  • Maryland Legal Aid Bureau
  • Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
  • Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service
  • Mid Shore Pro Bono
  • Montgomery County Bar Foundation
  • Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland
  • Tahirih Justice Center
  • Women's Law Center of Maryland

Why do pro bono?

Recognizing that lawyers have an ethical and professional duty to make access to justice a possibility for all, Rule 6.1 of the Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct recommends that lawyers strive to render 50 hours of pro bono service annually.

Pro bono is intrinsically rewarding. For law students, the advantages of performing pro bono extend beyond the satisfaction that accompanies service to others. Pro bono can offer valuable training, experience, and professional contacts. Students can also develop their leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills by getting involved in public interest activities.


Pro Bono Challenge

The Pro Bono Challenge is a partnership between the Law Career Development Center, the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland, and other members of the public interest community to offer students pro bono service opportunities.

Participating students will receive a certificate recognizing their service based on hours contributed, an achievement that can be noted on a resume. The minimum commitment is 20 hours.

Pro Bono Challenge Certificate Levels:

Platinum - 70+ hours
Gold - 60-69 hours
Silver -   40-59 hours
Bronze - 20-39 hours

To qualify for the challenge, the hours of service must be:

  1. for the benefit of persons of limited means, or for organizations that are non-profit and charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, international or educational in nature;
  2. law-related and performed under the supervision of a licensed attorney or law faculty member; and
  3. without benefit to the student, i.e., academic credit or compensation.

All pro bono hours need to be logged in Symplicity. For instructions, join the Pro Bono Challenge TWEN page, and under course materials, you will find a document that gives instructions on how to enter your pro bono hours into Symplicity.