Volunteer

Community Economic Development Pro Bono Project


About the Project

The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program established the Community Economic Development (CED) Pro Bono Project in 1998 to provide a vehicle for corporate, transactional, and business lawyers seeking nonlitigation pro bono assignments. The project is designed to deliver critically needed legal services to organizations operating in and serving low–income and distressed communities in the District of Columbia.


How Does the Project Serve Communities?

The CED Project’s mission is to provide legal assistance to community-based nonprofit organizations and small business entrepreneurs serving low–income communities or who are economically disadvantaged. 

The CED Project accomplishes its mission by:

  • Matching community based nonprofits with pro bono legal counsel. Through the CED Project, pro bono counsel have assisted nonprofit organizations in such areas as employment law, real estate, corporate governance, contract review, intellectual property, and exempt organizations.
  • Conducting training sessions in partnership with other nonprofit and government agencies. These sessions help educate nonprofit organizations on important legal issues such as Board governance, employment law, nonprofit regulation, and other legal issues.
  • Sponsoring walk–in small business legal clinics. The purpose of the clinics is to provide legal information to small business owners who operate in economically disadvantaged areas or who have limited financial resources. The clinic provides current and aspiring business owners an opportunity to speak with an attorney.

To date, the CED Project has provided the following assistance to people and organizations in need of legal assistance:

  • Matched over 515 nonprofit organizations with pro bono counsel for ongoing legal representation.
  • Assisted over 1,759 small business owners through the Small Business Initiative. 

How Do I Get Involved?

CED Project seeks attorneys to provide assistance to nonprofit organizations and small businesses. As a volunteer you can participate in one of the CED Project’s Small Business Clinics; you can provide legal counsel to a nonprofit organization; or you can help the CED Project with its training workshops for nonprofit and small business owners. 

If your law firm, government agency, or in–house legal department has a pro bono coordinator, he or she will be able to tell you about how you can become involved in the work of the CED Project through your employer.

Not a D.C. Bar member?

D.C. Court of Appeals Rule 49 specifies certain exemptions for attorneys licensed in other states who are not D.C. Bar members and who are engaged in pro bono work in D.C. Please check the rule to see whether you fall within one of these exemptions. Non–Bar members who fall within one of the Rule 49 exemptions are welcome to attend pro bono training sessions.

Interested in Volunteering?

Please contact the CED Project.