Give Now

Panel Says Lawyers Should Not Get Credits For Pro Bono Work

Indiana's Chief Justice has urged lawyers to increase their pro bono hours, but a panel says they should not be given continuing education credits for doing so.

Indiana supreme Court

Photo: IU McKinney School of Law (Flickr)

A lawyer argues before the Indiana Supreme Court.

A panel investigating Indiana’s pro bono legal system says lawyers shouldn’t be rewarded with continuing education credits for providing free and low-cost legal services to Hoosiers in need, according to new recommendations of the Pro Bono Reporting Task Force.

The Pro Bono Reporting Task Force, created at Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson’s urging, says pro bono work and CLE hours should be kept separate, noting that one shouldn’t be viewed as more valuable than the other.

The task force’s report also warns against disclosing the amount of pro bono done by individual lawyers, saying that publicly “shaming” lawyers only accounts for a temporary increase and doesn’t help in the long term.

It does recommend making the process for reporting pro bono hours easier, as well as clarifying what does and does not count as pro bono work.

Chief Justice Brent Dickson mentioned the need to boost pro bono efforts in his 2013 State of the Judiciary address, his first as Chief Justice. In his address this year, he talked about the result of a study that examined civil law cases in the state.

“Considering all civil cases, 63 percent of the parties were not represented by a lawyer, and in family law cases alone, 60 percent of the litigants did not have a lawyer,” he said.

Dickson has talked about offering continuing education, or CLE credit hours for lawyers that do pro bono work. Lawyers must earn a certain number of hours each year.

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search News

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

Follow us on Twitter

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Recent Stories

Recent Videos

Find Us on Facebook