Write down those pro bono hours

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cj2-15col.jpg Indianapolis Bar Association members listen to Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson make the case for reporting pro bono hours. The ISBA House of Delegates approved the proposal. (IL file photo)

The Indiana State Bar Association’s House of Delegates this fall approved a proposal championed by Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson that for the first time would mandate attorneys report the number of hours of free legal service they provide annually. The resolution passed with the understanding that there will be further study on what constitutes pro bono work and an assurance that the proposal won’t be a step toward mandating attorneys provide pro bono work. There is also the unanswered question as to whether each attorney’s reported pro bono hours should be publicly disclosed on the Roll of Attorneys.

The goal of the requirement is to encourage pro bono work and change the culture in the profession to favor more volunteerism. Several states, including Florida, require their attorneys to report the number of pro bono hours provided. Florida has seen an increase in the number of volunteer hours provided by attorneys since the requirement was imposed.

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