June 11, 2010
Attorneys Outperform Pro Bono Report for 2008
A higher percentage of reporting Ohio attorneys worked pro bono in 2009 than those who reported for 2008, according to the second annual results of pro bono activities statewide.
The Supreme Court of Ohio, working with the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation, asked lawyers in January to voluntarily and anonymously report their pro bono activities and financial support for legal aid programs in 2009. The program, “Justice in Action,” provides information used to identify gaps in the delivery of legal services and to strengthen the network of services available to Ohioans in need.
Seven percent of the state’s 35,000 attorneys on “active” status who received an electronic invitation to participate in the process reported information. About 66 percent of those who responded to the invitation reported pro bono work last year totaling more than 96,000 hours, which equaled an average of about 56.6 hours per attorney. About 61 percent of reporting attorneys performed pro bono work in 2008.
Using an average hourly rate of $135, Ohio attorneys who chose to report their pro bono service for 2009 provided more than $13 million in legal services to low-income Ohioans. The most common areas where attorneys offered their legal expertise for free included family law matters, wills and probate, and foreclosure issues.
Ohio lawyers supplemented their delivery of more than $13 million in direct legal services to the poor by making financial contributions of $250,000 to organizations that provide legal services to low-income Ohioans. The average contribution was $464 per attorney in calendar year 2009.