Login | February 25, 2018

Number of lawyers reporting pro bono work has increased

TIFFANY L. PARKS
Special to the Legal News

Published: February 7, 2014

In a procedure described as “practically painless,” nearly 1,800 Ohio attorneys have accepted the Supreme Court of Ohio’s invitation to report their pro bono work and financial contributions to organizations providing civil legal services to those of limited means during 2013.

“We are very pleased by the number of attorneys who have already chosen to participate in voluntary pro bono reporting,” said Jane Taylor, Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation director for pro bono and communications.

“About 300 more attorneys have reported than had reported at the same time last year.”

The Supreme Court and OLAF have been collaborating on voluntary pro bono reporting for six years.

A statement from OLAF said that at the beginning of January, attorneys with an active Ohio registration received an email from the Supreme Court which included a link to the reporting website.

The reporting website is separate from both the Supreme Court and the foundation’s websites to comply with the court’s directive that pro bono reporting be both voluntary and anonymous.

Taylor said attorneys are encouraged to compile records of their 2013 pro bono service and financial contributions before visiting the site.

If information is gathered in advance, the reporting process should take 10 minutes or less.

“There are only five questions about the work, three questions about any financial contributions to Ohio organizations that provide civil legal services to persons of limited means, and then just a few demographic questions that may be skipped if the attorney doesn’t care to answer them,” she said. “We’ve worked hard to keep the process as simple and quick as possible.”

Taylor said the information reported will be used to improve delivery of civil legal services to people and families who cannot afford an attorney and to identify gaps in services.

“The information collected during voluntary pro bono reporting is analyzed by the foundation and shared, in the aggregate, with the Supreme Court of Ohio and Ohio’s legal aids,” she said.

“The data allows the court to measure the impact of its commitment to support and encourage pro bono legal services by Ohio’s attorneys. The legal aids use the information to measure the impact of pro bono work in the regions they serve, and to identify emerging areas of need, for example, foreclosure work or debt collection cases.”

The reporting website will be open until March 31.

“The benefit from the pro bono work can be stretched beyond the impact on the client when the work is reported, as it helps to improve the delivery of civil legal services to all Ohioans who cannot afford an attorney,” Taylor said.

Attorneys who cannot locate the email with the link to the reporting website and wish to participate in the voluntary reporting can request another copy of the link by email to justiceinaction@olaf.org.

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