C. Responsibility to Improve the Administration of Justice, Pro Bono Service, Access to Justice, and Civic Involvement

The following points are suggested to facilitate a discussion about the lawyer’s responsibility to improve the administration of justice, pro bono opportunities, access to justice issues, and civic involvement.

  1. Discuss ABA, Colorado, and local aspirations for levels of pro bono service. Discuss pro bono goal-setting with the new lawyer.
  2. Discuss the broad definition of pro bono and civic involvements in Colorado to provide for participation by government attorneys and transactional attorneys (See Rule 6.1 CRPC).
  3. Discuss pro bono case and legal clinic opportunities in state court and in federal court, including:
    1. The Court Order Establishing Federal Pilot Project creating the civil case panel found at http://tinyurl.com/mmhy9ah.
    2. Metro Volunteer Lawyers found at http://www.metrovolunteerlawyers.org
    3. Civic Involvement Opportunities and Clinics for government attorneys and transactional attorneys at http://www.cobar.org/repository/Pro%20Bono%20Guidebook(2).pdf
  4. Explain that a lawyer’s performance of pro bono services and civic involvement encompasses not only the donation of time, but may also includes contributing financially to organizations delivering services to those of limited means.
  5. Discuss any pro bono cases or civic involvement activities in which you are involved. What led you to become involved in these matters? What have you gained from these experiences?
  6. Discuss the meaning of “access to justice.” What is the role of a lawyer in ensuring access to justice? What happens when litigants attempt to access the justice system without the guidance of an attorney? How do unrepresented pro se parties in the courtroom affect the efficient administration of justice?
  7. If the new lawyer works in the same firm/organization, discuss the firm’s pro bono policy. What hours count toward minimum billable, if applicable? Are there limits to what the firm will “count” toward an attorney’s annual hours? Who is the appropriate contact person to express interest in pro bono matters? See the Colorado Supreme Court Pro Bono Commitment programs at http://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/Supreme_Court/Pro_Bono.cfm.
  8. Discuss how the new attorney might bring in a new pro bono matter as a new client for his/her organization. How would the attorney ensure a new client and matter were acceptable to the firm? What are the procedures for opening new client matters? What is the conflict procedure to ensure there are no conflicts in representing the new client?
  9. Explain that in state courts, attorneys may take on a case with a limited scope of representation or “unbundling” of legal services (See Rule 1.2(c) CRPC). Direct the lawyer to the ABA clearinghouse on unbundled legal services (http://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/delivery/delunbund.html) for guidance on how unbundling works. There are additional issues to think about on the Make History site at: http://www.cobar.org/repository/Pro%20Bono%20Guidebook(2).pdf.
  10. If the new lawyer works in a public interest practice, talk about the issue of student loans and what impact repayment of these debts might have on the lawyer’s long-term public interest commitment. Direct the lawyer to loan repayment program resource developed by the ABA at http://tinyurl.com/mtjtuxy.

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