On May 27, 2011, the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation (OLAF) released its annual report to the Ohio Supreme Court on pro bono work among Ohio attorneys. The net result is that more hours were reported anonymously by attorneys. The report indicates that 1,077 individual attorneys and 95 firms, representing 4,466 firm members, chose to report pro bono activities for 2010. Of course, reporting is voluntary, so it is unclear whether Ohio attorneys actually spent more hours on pro bono — or whether there was better communication of the need to keep track of hours and an increase in the reported hours by attorneys.
According to the press release from OLAF and the Ohio Supreme Court:
Using a modest hourly rate of $135, the dollar value of pro bono legal services contributed by attorneys who chose to report their pro bono activities was $18.9 million, or nearly $6 million more than what was reported last year.
Ohio lawyers supplemented their delivery of legal services valued at nearly $19 million by making financial contributions of nearly $312,000 to organizations that provide legal services to low-income Ohioans.
Central Ohio attorneys lag our Northeastern Ohio colleagues in reported pro bono activity. Surely, attorneys here can do a better job of reporting their activity.
Pro bono is an important issue for the Columbus Bar Association, especially given the broad need in our community. Hopefully, there are more of our members contributing their time and efforts to the cause. Regardless, I hope that, through this blog and other communication from the CBA, we do a better job of spreading the word about pro bono opportunities.