A Record Year for Pro Bono in D.C.

By Kathy Lugo

August 10, 2017

Total pro bono hours in 2016

The 2016 D.C. Bar Pro Bono Initiative Report, which reveals the state of law firm pro bono in the District of Columbia, is now available. In 2016, 59 D.C.-area law firms participated in the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Initiative by tracking and reporting their pro bono progress to the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center.

Highlights of the 2016 report include:

  • 852,286 hours were dedicated to pro bono in 2016—the highest total number of pro bono hours contributed since 2013

  • 8,874 attorneys participated in pro bono in 2016— more attorneys than in any other year since the Pro Bono Initiative began in 2001

  • On average, lawyers in the responding firms devoted 78 hours to pro bono matters, equating to an average of 4.4% of their billable hours

  • 81% of the responding firms' attorneys participated in pro bono

  • 68% of all reported pro bono work was devoted to persons of limited means or organizations serving them

Established in 2001, the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Initiative encourages the District’s largest law offices to commit to pro bono legal services at specified levels. Firm Signatories to the Initiative pledge to devote either 3 percent or 5 percent of total billable client hours each year to pro bono work. Throughout the year, participating firms track their progress and report statistics on pro bono service in the District to the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center. These standards were created by, and are used with permission from, the Pro Bono Institute and are modeled on the institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®.

View the full report.