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Pro Bono Council
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“There is nothing as personally satisfying as helping a person in a way that really changes his or her life.”
-- 2015 VBA President Harry M. "Pete" Johnson III

The VBA Pro Bono Council, created in 2015, seeks to promote greater participation in pro bono publico work in Virginia and within the VBA. It also works to extol the virtues of that service.

The council organizes the Chief Justice's Pro Bono Summit in the spring in even years to shine a light on the need for pro bono representation, review progress toward greater access to justice and present possible new approaches to encourage these goals. See the agenda for the 2018 event.

The need is great

Did you know that fewer than 20 percent of low-income individuals with legal needs receive assistance from a lawyer? Yet, having a lawyer makes a huge difference in court case outcomes for litigants. True justice requires lawyers on both sides of a case, even in civil disputes, where individuals are not constitutionally entitled to an attorney.

Won't you promote access to justice?

Volunteer Opportunities

Areas of Pro Bono Council concentration

The council appointed seven committees:

VBA Pro Bono Council at Northern Virginia Firms in Service meeting 2015History

This work continues the efforts of the Pro Bono Publico Task Force of the VBA Board of Governors. Then-VBA President John D. Epps created the task force in 2009 after Chief Justice Leroy R. Hassell Sr. asked statewide voluntary bar associations, and especially the VBA, “to assist with the planning of a bold and comprehensive statewide initiative for Virginia’s lawyers and law firms so that we can significantly increase the provision of legal services to the poor.”

Harry M. “Pete” Johnson III and Scott Oostdyk served as co-chairs of a task force populated with members from across Virginia. At that point, the VBA’s 5-year-old Community Service Program had logged a cumulative total of 100,000 hours of service and pro bono work provided by VBA members.

The 2010 Chief Justice’s Pro Bono Summit meeting, organized by the task force, resulted in tangible accomplishments. Among them was an in-house counsel rule change that allows corporate counsel admitted in other states to provide pro bono services in Virginia, and the creation of JusticeServer, an online case management system that enables private attorneys to accept and work on pro bono cases from their own computers.


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