WHEREAS, in August, 1988, the American Bar Association called upon all lawyers to render fifty hours each year in public interest legal service;

WHEREAS, in December, 1990, the Pennsylvania Bar Association's special Task Force for Legal Services to the Needy issued its Report documenting a severe and growing unmet need for legal representation for the poor and near-poor in Pennsylvania and finding that the consequences--to the poor and to society as a whole--of failing to meet this need are enormous;

WHEREAS, the need for legal services of Philadelphia's poor--now numbering more than 420,000--far exceeds the resources available to Community Legal Services and other organizations providing services or assistance to the poor;

WHEREAS, there are many fine public interest law firms in Philadelphia through which lawyers may undertake pro bono legal representation of the poor and disadvantaged in a wide variety of legal matters;

WHEREAS, this Association recognizes that law firms, including corporate and governmental legal departments, will have different approaches to how best to honor their attorneys' ethical obligation to render public interest legal service, but wishes to urge each firm and legal department to encourage all attorneys to contribute in some meaningful measure to the delivery of legal services to the poor and disadvantaged;

WHEREAS, this Association's Young Lawyers Section, its Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, and its pro bono program, Philadelphia VIP, have together developed the attached Philadelphia Model Pro Bono Policy, which provides a guide for the development of written pro bono policies by law firms and legal departments;

WHEREAS, this Association wishes to encourage its attorneys to render fifty hours of pro bono service each year to poor persons and to organizations which have as their primary purpose service or assistance to the poor and disadvantaged;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association as follows:

  1. The Association hereby renews its commitment to ensure the delivery of legal service to all persons in need but unable to pay for legal services, and urges all law firms and legal departments to encourage all of their attorneys, partners as well as associates, to help provide pro bono legal service to the poor and disadvantaged.

  2. The Association hereby adopts the Philadelphia Model Pro Bono Policy and calls upon each law firm and legal department in this City to develop and adopt its own written pro bono policy.

  3. The Chancellor and staff of the Association are authorized to take such reasonable steps as the Chancellor may determine to publish and distribute the Philadelphia Model Pro Bono Policy.

  4. The Association hereby adopts and urges each of its members and law firms to adopt, the goal of having each attorney contribute each year fifty hours of legal service to the poor and disadvantaged, or to organizations having as their primary purpose service or assistance to the poor and disadvantaged, whether by providing direct service, through cash or in-line donations, or by a combination of these methods

ADOPTED: July 25, 1991