Michael G. SheppardAccording to the American Bar Association Center of Pro Bono, the state of Maryland boasts one of the greatest rates of pro bono activity in the nation.


Lawyers donated approximately 1,150,205 hours of volunteer or pro bono legal services; spending that hour aiding the state’s less fortunate population. The Current Status of Pro Bono Service Among Maryland Lawyers, 2016 report was recently submitted to Maryland Court of Appeals.


More than half of all lawyers practicing law full-time in Maryland (53 percent) helped vulnerable populations or those with limited means. This means that countless individuals benefited from free or substantially reduced-fee legal services.


Since 2002, Maryland lawyers have been required to report pro bono legal service hours to the state’s highest court each year. The 2016 report show that lawyers who offered pro-bono services offered anywhere from 10 to more than 50 hours of free legal work. Through polls, it was shown that the longer attorneys practiced, the more likely they were to volunteer their services.


Also, the report showed that small firms and solo practitioners are more likely to donate their time and skills than those from midsize and large firms. There’s a high percentage involvement of those who lend help directly to those who have very little, giving help to non-profits, and adding clients with civil rights matters.

Legal service assistance can help to empower local communities. Lawyers who financially support and active volunteer is vital. Unfortunately, specialties don’t’ always align with needs in a particular area, such as consumer law, housing law, family law, and public benefits.


Judiciary’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Service and Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC) collaborate to make volunteer opportunities more accessible for lawyers throughout the state of lawyers.


Lawyers who’d like to know more about pro bono work can contact PBRC at www.probonomd.org. Lawyers based in Tennessee who’d like to know more about pro bono work can contact the Tennessee Bar Association.