The North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center (PBRC) is proud to announce the induction of 589 attorneys into the 2020 North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society. Society members reported providing 50 or more hours of pro bono legal services in 2020 to clients unable to pay without expectation of a fee, an aspirational threshold set by Rule 6.1 of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct.
Chief Justice Paul Newby called on North Carolina attorneys to report their pro bono hours to the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center.
“Many North Carolina attorneys recognized the needs brought about by COVID-19 and provided pro bono legal services to help ensure that ‘justice shall be administered without favor, denial, or delay,’ as is mandated by our state’s Constitution,” said Chief Justice Newby in his message to the state’s attorneys. “The Supreme Court of North Carolina looks forward to celebrating the sincere efforts of North Carolina lawyers in pursuit of equal justice for all.”
Each member of this year’s cohort of the Honor Society receives a certificate from the Supreme Court of North Carolina in recognition of their valuable contributions to the people of North Carolina. This group of attorneys provided nearly 55,000 hours of pro bono legal services in 2020 to North Carolinians living in poverty. In all, 1,648 attorneys, or more than 5.5% of active attorneys in North Carolina, shared information about their pro bono volunteerism, together providing more than 67,750 hours of pro bono legal services in 2020.
“Pro bono lawyers stepped up to assist North Carolinians in a time fraught with unprecedented challenges,” said PBRC Director Sylvia Novinsky. “I am inspired by the willingness of attorneys in our state to help those sharply affected by the pandemic’s economic and health impacts.”
Rule 6.1 encourages a variety of activities in addition to the pro bono legal services recognized by the Honor Society. Other encouraged activities include providing legal services at a substantially reduced fee; engaging in activities that improve the law, the legal system, or the legal profession; participating in non-legal community service; and contributing financially to North Carolina legal aid organizations. The reporting process, administered by the PBRC, collected basic information about all of these activities. The Honor Society celebrates the unique volunteerism that only lawyers can give.
About the North Carolina Pro Bono Center
The PBRC launched in April 2016 and began collecting responses from attorneys about pro bono involvement through the state’s first voluntary reporting process in January 2017. A program of the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission, the PBRC works to increase North Carolina attorneys’ pro bono legal service as a way to meet the legal needs of people of low-income and modest means in our state.