Print Version
Previous PageFile uploaded: 10/9/2018

Rule 6.1. Voluntary pro bono legal service.

Everylicensed paralegal practitioner has a professional responsibility to providelegal services to those unable to pay. A licensed paralegal practitioner shouldaspire to render at least 30 hours of pro bono publicolegal services per year. In fulfilling this responsibility, the licensedparalegal practitioner should:

(a)provide a substantial majority of the 30 hours oflegal services without fee or expectation of fee to:

(a)(1)persons of limited means or

(a)(2)charitable, religious, civic, community, governmentaland educational organizations in matters that are designed primarily to addressthe needs of persons of limited means; and

(b)provide any additional services through:

(b)(1)delivery of legal services at no fee or substantially reduced fee toindividuals, groups or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights,civil liberties or public rights, or charitable, religious, civic, community,governmental and educational organizations in matters in furtherance of theirorganizational purposes, where the payment of standard legal fees wouldsignificantly deplete the organization?s economic resources or would beotherwise inappropriate;

(b)(2)delivery of legal services at a substantially reducedfee to persons of limited means; or

(b)(3)participation in activities for improving the law, thelegal system or the legal profession.

(c)A licensed paralegal practitioner may also discharge the responsibility toprovide pro bono publico legal services by making anannual contribution of at least $5 per hour for each hour not provided underparagraph (a) or (b) above to an agency that provides direct services asdefined in paragraph (a) above.

(d)Each licensed paralegal practitioner is urged to report annually to the UtahState Bar whether the licensed paralegal practitioner has satisfied the LPP?sprofessional responsibility to provide pro bono legal services. Each licensedparalegal practitioner may report this information through a simplified reportingform that is made a part of the Bar?s annual dues statement.

(e)In addition to providing pro bono legal services, a licensed paralegalpractitioner should voluntarily contribute financial support to organizationsthat provide legal services to persons of limited means.

 

Comment

[1]Every licensed paralegal practitioner, regardless of professional prominence orprofessional work load, has a responsibility to provide legal services to thoseunable to pay. Personal involvement in the problems of the disadvantaged can beone of the most rewarding experiences in the life of a licensed paralegalpractitioner. All licensed paralegal practitioners are urged to provide aminimum of 30 hours of pro bono services annually. It is recognized that insome years a licensed paralegal practitioner may render greater or fewer hoursthan the annual standard specified, but during the course of the licensedparalegal practitioner?s career, each licensed paralegal practitioner shouldrender on average per year, the number of hours set forth in this Rule.? Services can be performed in any area inwhich the licensed paralegal practitioner is authorized to practice.

[2]Paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) recognize the critical need for legal servicesthat exists among persons of limited means by providing that a substantialmajority of the legal services rendered annually to the disadvantaged befurnished without fee or expectation of fee. Legal services under theseparagraphs include individual representation, the provision of legal advice,legislative lobbying, administrative rule making and the provision of freetraining or mentoring to those who represent persons of limited means.

[3]Persons eligible for legal services under paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) arethose who qualify for participation in programs funded by the Legal ServicesCorporation and those whose incomes and financial resources are slightly abovethe guidelines utilized by such programs but nevertheless cannot affordcounsel. Legal services can be rendered to individuals or to organizations suchas homeless shelters, battered women's centers and food pantries that servethose of limited means.

[4]Because service must be provided without fee or expectation of fee, the intentof the licensed paralegal practitioner to render free legal services isessential for the work performed to fall within the meaning of paragraphs(a)(1) and (a)(2). Accordingly, services rendered cannot be considered pro bonoif an anticipated fee is uncollected. LPPs who do receive fees in such cases areencouraged to contribute an appropriate portion of such fees to organizationsor projects that benefit persons of limited means.?

[5]While it is possible for a licensed paralegal practitioner to fulfill theannual responsibility to perform pro bono services exclusively throughactivities described in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2), to the extent that anyhours of service remain unfulfilled, the remaining commitment can be met in avariety of ways as set forth in paragraph (b).

[6]Paragraph (b)(1) includes the provision of certaintypes of legal services to those whose incomes and financial resources placethem above limited means. It also permits the pro bono licensed paralegalpractitioner to accept a substantially reduced fee for services.

[7]Paragraph (b)(2) covers instances in which licensedparalegal practitioners agree to and receive a modest fee for furnishing probono legal services to persons of limited means. Participation in judicare programs and acceptance of court appointments inwhich the fee is substantially below a licensed paralegal practitioner's usualrate are encouraged under this section.

[8]Paragraph (b)(3) recognizes the value of licensedparalegal practitioners engaging in activities that improve the law, the legalsystem or the legal profession. Serving on bar association committees, servingon boards of pro bono or legal services programs, taking part in Law Day andother law related education activities, acting as a continuing legal educationinstructor, a mediator or an arbitrator and engaging in legislative lobbying toimprove the law, the legal system or the profession are a few examples of themany activities that fall within this paragraph.

[9]Because the provision of pro bono services is a professional responsibility, itis the individual ethical commitment of each licensed paralegal practitioner.Nevertheless, there may be times when it is not feasible for a licensedparalegal practitioner to engage in pro bono services. At such times a licensedparalegal practitioner may discharge the pro bono responsibility by providingfinancial support to organizations providing free legal services to persons oflimited means. In addition, at times it may be more feasible to satisfy the probono responsibility collectively, as by a firm's aggregate pro bono activities.

[9a]This Rule explicitly allows licensed paralegal practitioners to discharge theirpro bono services responsibility by annually contributing at least $5 per hourfor each hour not provided under paragraphs (a) and (b). While the personalinvolvement of each licensed paralegal practitioner in the provision of probono legal services is generally preferable, such personal involvement may notalways be possible. The annual contribution alternative allows a licensed paralegalpractitioner to provide financial assistance to increase and improve thedelivery of pro bono legal services when a licensed paralegal practitionercannot or decides not to provide pro bono legal services through thecontribution of time. Also, there is no prohibition against a licensedparalegal practitioner?s contributing a combination of hours and financialsupport.

[10]Because the efforts of individual licensed paralegal practitioners are notenough to meet the need for free legal services that existsamong persons of limited means, the government and the profession haveinstituted additional programs to provide those services. Every licensedparalegal practitioner should financially support such programs, in addition toeither providing direct pro bono services or making financial contributionswhen pro bono service is not feasible.

[11]Law and law-related firms employing licensed paralegal practitioners should actreasonably to enable and encourage all licensed paralegal practitioners in thefirm to provide the pro bono legal services called for in this Rule.

[11a]Voluntary reporting is designed to provide a basis forreminding licensed paralegal practitioners of their professional responsibilityunder this Rule and to provide useful statistical information. The intent ofthis Rule is to direct resources towards providing representation for personsof limited means. Therefore, only contributions made to organizations describedin subsection (a) should be reported. Reporting records for individual licensedparalegal practitioners will not be kept or released by the Utah State Bar. TheUtah State Bar will gather useful statistical information at the close of eachreporting cycle and then purge individual reporting statistics from itsdatabase. The general statistical information will be maintained by the Bar foryear-to-year comparisons and may be released, at the Bar's discretion, toappropriate organizations and individuals for furthering access to justice inUtah.

[12]The responsibility set forth in this Rule is not intended to be enforcedthrough disciplinary process.

 

Effective November 1, 2018