Print Version
Previous PageFile uploaded: 5/1/2019

Rule 6.1. Voluntary pro bonolegal service.

Every licensed paralegal practitioner has aprofessional responsibility to provide legalservices to those unable to pay. A licensed paralegal practitioner shouldaspire to render at least 30 hoursof pro bono publico legal services per year. Infulfilling this responsibility, thelicensed paralegal practitioner should:

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

(a)(1) persons oflimited means or

(a)(2) charitable,religious, civic, community, governmental andeducational

organizations inmatters that are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means; and

(b) provide anyadditional services through:

(b)(1) Reserved.

(b)(2) delivery oflegal services at no fee or at a substantially reduced fee to persons of limited means; or

(b)(3) participationin activities for improving the law, the legal system or the legal profession.

(c) A licensed paralegal practitioner mayalso discharge the responsibility to provide

probono publico legal services by making an annualcontribution of at least $5 per hourfor each hour not provided under paragraph (a) or (b) above to an agency thatprovides direct services as definedin paragraph (a) above.

(d) Each licensed paralegal practitioner isurged to report annually to the Utah StateBar whether the licensed paralegal practitioner has satisfied the LPP?s professional responsibility to provide probono legal services. Each licensed paralegal practitioner may report this information through asimplified reporting form that is made a part of the Bar?s annual dues statement.

(e) In addition to providing pro bono legalservices, a licensed paralegal practitionershould voluntarily contribute financial support to organizations that providelegal services to persons of limited means.

Comment

[1] Every licensed paralegal practitioner, regardless ofprofessional prominence or professional work load, has a responsibility toprovide legal services to those unable to pay. Personal involvement in theproblems of the disadvantaged can be one of the most rewarding experiences inthe life of a licensed paralegal practitioner. All licensed paralegalpractitioners are urged to provide a minimum of 30 hours of pro bono servicesannually. It is recognized that in some years a licensed paralegal practitionermay render greater or fewer hours than the annual standard specified, butduring the course of the licensed paralegal practitioner?s career, eachlicensed paralegal practitioner should render on average per year, the numberof hours set forth in this Rule. Services can be performed in any area in whichthe licensed paralegal practitioner is authorized to practice.

[2] Paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) recognizethe critical need for legal services that exists among persons of limited meansby providing that a substantial majority of the legal services renderedannually to the disadvantaged be furnished without fee or expectation of fee.Legal services under these paragraphs include individual representation, theprovision of legal advice, legislative lobbying, administrative rule making andthe provision of free training or mentoring to those who represent persons oflimited means.

[3] Persons eligible for legal services underparagraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) are those whoqualify for participation in programs funded by the Legal Services Corporationand those whose incomes and financial resources are slightly above theguidelines utilized by such programs but nevertheless cannot afford counsel.

[4] Because service must be provided withoutfee or expectation of fee, the intent of the licensed paralegal practitioner torender free legal services is essential for the work performed to fall withinthe meaning of paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2). Accordingly, services renderedcannot be considered pro bono if an anticipated fee is uncollected. Licensed paralegal practitioners who do receive fees in such cases are encouraged tocontribute an appropriate portion of such fees to organizations or projectsthat benefit persons of limited means.

[5] While it is possible for a licensedparalegal practitioner to fulfill the annual responsibility to perform pro bonoservices exclusively through activities described in paragraphs (a)(1) and(a)(2), to the extent that any hours of service remain unfulfilled, theremaining commitment can be met in a variety of ways as set forth in paragraph(b).

[6] Reserved.

[7] Paragraph (b)(2) coversinstances in which licensed paralegal practitioners agree to and receive no fee or a modest feefor furnishing pro bono legal services to persons of limited means.Participation in judicare programs and acceptance ofcourt appointments in which the fee is substantially below a licensed paralegalpractitioner's usual rate are encouraged under this section.

[8] Paragraph (b)(3) recognizesthe value of licensed paralegal practitioners engaging in activities thatimprove the law, the legal system or the legal profession. Serving on barassociation committees, serving on boards of pro bono or legal servicesprograms, taking part in Law Day and other law related education activities,acting as a continuing legal education instructor, a mediator or an arbitratorand engaging in legislative lobbying to improve the law, the legal system orthe profession are a few examples of the many activities that fall within this paragraph.

[9] Because the provision of pro bonoservices is a professional responsibility, it is the individual ethicalcommitment of each licensed paralegal practitioner. Nevertheless, there may betimes when it is not feasible for a licensed paralegal practitioner to engagein pro bono services. At such times a licensed paralegal practitioner maydischarge the pro bono responsibility by providing financial support toorganizations providing free legal servicesto persons of limited means. In addition, at times it may be more feasible tosatisfy the pro bono responsibility collectively, as by a firm's aggregate probono activities.

[9a] This Rule explicitly allowslicensed paralegal practitioners to discharge their pro bono servicesresponsibility by annually contributing at least $5 per hour for each hour notprovided under paragraphs (a) and (b). While the personal involvement of eachlicensed paralegal practitioner in the provision of pro bono legal services isgenerally preferable, such personal involvement may not always be possible. Theannual contribution alternative allows a licensed paralegal practitioner toprovide financial assistance to increase and improve the delivery of pro bonolegal services when a licensed paralegal practitioner cannot or decides not toprovide pro bono legal services through the contribution of time. Also, thereis no prohibition against a licensed paralegal practitioner?s contributing acombination of hours and financial support.

[10] Because the efforts of individuallicensed paralegal practitioners are not enough to meet the need for free legal services that exists among persons of limited means,the government and the profession have instituted additional programs toprovide those services. Every licensed paralegal practitioner shouldfinancially support such programs, in addition to either providing direct probono services or making financial contributions when pro bono service is not feasible.

[11] Law and law-related firms employinglicensed paralegal practitioners should act reasonably to enable and encourageall licensed paralegal practitioners in the firm to provide the pro bono legalservices called for in this Rule.

[11a] Voluntaryreporting is designed to provide a basis for reminding licensed paralegalpractitioners of their professional responsibility under this Rule and toprovide useful statistical information. The intent of this Rule is to directresources towards providing representation for persons of limited means.Therefore, only contributions made to organizations described in subsection (a)should be reported. Reporting records for individual licensed paralegalpractitioners will not be kept or released by the Utah State Bar. The UtahState 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 thisRule is not intended to be enforced through disciplinary process.

 

Effective May 1, 2019