The term pro bono is Latin which literally means for the public good. This normally refers to professionals who don’t charge fees for the services they render to their clients. As such, pro bono attorneys are lawyers who perform their duties without asking for payment. They do their work as public service at no cost to their clients.
In the United States, lawyers are normally required every year to render at least 50 hours of service to the general public pro bono. This is in compliance to the recommendation of the American Bar Association (ABA). In some states, though, lawyers may be required lesser hours depending on the rules of their respective bar associations. Attorneys under the New York State Bar Association, for instance, need only to render 20 hours of pro bono service each year.
In the United Kingdom, law firms and schools offering law courses also celebrate a Pro Bono Week each year. During this time, lawyers are encouraged to provide pro bono services to the public as a way of making people aware of such type of service they can avail of particularly those who are facing legal cases. This special week has been held since 2002.
Pro bono attorneys are also considered volunteer lawyers because of the free and voluntary service they provide to clients. They can do this particularly in instances when a person they’re assisting cannot afford to pay a lawyer’s retainer fee but they strongly believe that the individual is innocent and has a strong case.