Judges Walk a Fine Line in Recruiting Lawyers for Pro Bono Work
When it comes to recruiting lawyers to do pro bono legal work, judges walk a fine line.
According to David Avery, an Indiana Superior Court Judge, judges can speak with groups about the need for lawyers to handle pro bono work, but not with individual lawyers.
Avery spoke during an April 19 webinar, “Judicial Support for Pro Bono,” sponsored by the American Bar Association Center for Pro Bono.
He explained that as co-chair of the Allen County Bar Association Committee and the Indiana Pro Bono Commission, he asks for four or five minutes on the agenda at entity meetings once a year. “I make a request, letting them know that the Volunteer Lawyers Program [of Northeastern Indiana] is looking for volunteers and encourage everyone to sign up.”
The approach can be successful if it is general and supported by a judge, he added.
Chief Justice Janice Holder of the Tennessee Supreme Court discussed how her state developed a unified approach to access to justice, making it the number one strategic goal of the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Holder outlined the actions taken by the court to improve access to justice, including passage of legislation allowing government lawyers to provide pro bono representation in certain circumstances, amendments to Supreme Court rules to permit judicial research assistants to perform certain types of pro bono representation and enhancements to IOLTA [Interest on Lawyer’s Trust Accounts] rules.
The third presenter during the webinar was Jamie Hochman Herz , assistant committee counsel for the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. She provided an overview of a new webpage for judicial promotion of pro bono.
To view suggestions on how judges can assert leadership on access to justice issues locally, click here.