The Care Campaign: Supporting Attorneys in Pro Bono Service
The State Bar of Texas is committed to fostering a culture of pro bono service in our state. As part of this commitment, the bar launched the Care Campaign to empower attorneys who want to serve the millions of low-income Texans who need legal help.
While nearly six million Texans qualify for legal aid, the Texas legal community only meets 20 percent of the need. The Care Campaign is focusing on removing barriers to pro bono services and supporting attorneys in meeting the growing demand for civil legal aid.
After speaking with legal aid providers and pro bono attorneys about their needs, the bar is focusing on the following initiatives:
• Practical training programs that offer CLE credit. The bar is developing “nuts and bolts” training programs that will provide attorneys with practical skills for the types of cases legal aid providers most frequently encounter. These CLE programs will be offered at no charge in exchange for a commitment to do pro bono.
• Mentorship program that shares experience and advice. The bar is creating a pool of experienced attorneys who are willing to serve as mentors to lawyers taking on pro bono cases. The mentor matching system will connect pro bono attorneys in need of guidance on a pro bono case with mentors who can provide advice, share practical expertise, or potentially serve as second chair on a case.
• Pro bono sections challenge. The bar challenges its sections to report all of the great pro bono work that they do. Two trophies will be presented annually to the section with the highest total number of reported pro bono hours and the section with the highest percentage of its members participating in the challenge. The winning sections will also be recognized at Annual Meeting and acknowledged on various social media sites. Please note that the same section is not eligible to win in both categories. Visit My Bar Page to report your pro bono hours now.
• Care Commitment. Lawyers who perform 5, 10, and 15 hours of pro bono can now earn the Care Commitment badge which will appear by their name on the State Bar website on the popular “Find a Lawyer” page. The Care Commitment is intended to encourage lawyers to perform a base level of pro bono and inspire them to strive towards the State Bar’s aspirational goal of performing at least 50 hours of legal services to the poor each year. Join your colleagues make your Care Commitment today by visiting the My Pro Bono tab on your My Bar Page. You’ll be glad you did!
• Language assistance to reach underserved populations. Through the Language Access Fund, the bar provides access to free interpretation and translation services for legal aid and pro bono attorneys representing clients that have limited English proficiency.
• Malpractice insurance for pro bono and reduced-fee cases. The bar provides malpractice insurance for legal aid providers and pro bono programs through its Malpractice Insurance Network Exchange. This offers malpractice coverage to attorneys volunteering through these programs. Attorneys who accept cases through a reduced fee panel at a local lawyer referral service are also covered.
Want to get involved? Connect to legal aid providers and pro bono organizations in your community at Texas Lawyers Help.
The State Bar has developed a Care Kit to enable local bar associations and legal organizations to easily hold legal advice clinics. The Care Kit contains all of the resources necessary to publicize and conduct a clinic. An accompanying tool kit offers additional resources. To view the contents of the Care Kit, the tool kit, and a video demystifying the legal clinic process, click here. Request a Care Kit or tool kit by contacting Local Bars at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 512-427-1514
Legal Access Division
800.204.2222 (ext. 1855)