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DC Bar Pro Bono Initiative Report

About the Pro Bono Initiative

The D.C. Bar established the Pro Bono Initiative in 2001 with the Chief Judges of the District’s courts to encourage the largest local law firm offices to increase pro bono legal services. The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center administers the Initiative through an annual survey to signatory firms. In joining the initiative, firms agree to:

  1. Set a minimum pro bono goal of either 3% or 5% of billable hours (or 60 hours or 100 hours per attorney) for the firm’s D.C. office;
  2. Use management techniques to attain or exceed its goals;
  3. Undertake new or increased pro bono activities; and
  4. Report its progress annually 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®.

2021 Pro Bono Initiative Report Findings

67 D.C.-based law firms stepped up to help neighbors in need by providing a record 1,209,151 hours of pro bono service.

  • 9,354 attorneys at the 67 Signatory Firms engaged in pro bono service, including:
    • 3,085 partners;
    • 4,757 associates;
    • 1,103 counsel; and
    • 409 staff and other attorneys.

  • Each attorney contributed an average of 129 hours of pro bono work.

  • As a percentage of total paying client billable hours, responding firms contributed an average of 4.3% of billable hours to pro bono work.

  • 34% of responding firms’ pro bono time was devoted to D.C. residents of limited means or organizations serving them.
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