Reporting season for the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® will open in January, and Challenge Signatories should be on the lookout for an email with your unique survey link. The deadline for reporting data for calendar year 2014 is February 27.
Each year, Challenge Signatories provide a brief, confidential report to the Law Firm Project on their progress in meeting the Challenge. The individual firm data is kept confidential, but each report provides the basis for critically important aggregate statistics about trends in law firm pro bono.
Among other things, Challenge Signatories aspire to devote a majority of their pro bono time to persons of limited means or to “charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, and educational organizations in matters which are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means.” This aspect of the Challenge is particularly compelling at a time when poverty in the U.S. remains high and resources for legal aid assistance have been diminished. However, the information we’ve received in recent years on pro bono work for low-income individuals has been incomplete and potentially unrepresentative of the overall work that firms are doing.
We encourage firms to strengthen their data collection efforts and ensure that they are accurately and comprehensively tracking and reporting all of their pro bono efforts, including service to people of limited means and the organizations that serve them. To read more about why this data is so critical, check out the December edition of The Pro Bono Wire.
Firms with 50 or more lawyers are welcome to join the Challenge at any point in the year and are given a grace period before the reporting requirement kicks in. Now is the perfect time for firms to join our efforts to improve access to justice, as 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the implementation of the Challenge. Please contact Law Firm Project Assistant Eva Richardson for more information on becoming a Signatory and a leader in law firm pro bono.