More than 5,000 DC attorneys volunteered 50 hours or more to offer free legal services to individuals who needed it during the pandemic, according to District of Columbia Courts.
DC Bar members who have provided at least 50 hours of Pro Bono service qualified for recognition on the 2020 edition of the annual Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll, said Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby and Chief Judge Anita Jose-Herring in an open letter.
Over 60 percent (3,161) of the DC attorneys who contributed in pro bono work (5,223) volunteered 100 hours or more last year, qualifying for the High Honor Roll in 2020. (Those who provided free legal services for at least 50 hours registered for the Honor Roll.)
“You are part of a record-breaking year for the Honor Roll, made particularly notable because it occurred during a global pandemic,” the chief judges said in the letter, noting that the numbers mean at least 419,200 hours of pro bono service.
“We are tremendously proud of the robust tradition of pro bono service by attorneys in the District of Columbia. We applaud those who embrace their ethical obligation, as contained in Rule 6.1 of the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct, to perform at least fifty hours of pro bono work annually,” the letter continued. “The District of Columbia is fortunate to have a truly extraordinary cadre of legal services organizations whose attorneys work tirelessly every day to make access to justice a reality. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw even greater need for pro bono service in 2020. We also understand that the pandemic likely impacted many 2020 Honor Roll members greatly, making their service even more impressive. We can only anticipate the severity and urgency of the need for pro bono service growing throughout the pandemic recovery. The continued dedicated work of pro bono counsel is simply indispensable to our civil justice system. It will take all of us, working together, to make the equal access to justice a reality in DC.”