D.C. Courts Announce the 2021 Pro Bono Honor Roll

Thousands of attorneys step up during the pandemic to provide much-needed free legal help

Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby of the D.C. Court of Appeals and Chief Judge Anita Josey-Herring of the D.C. Superior Court have released the eleventh annual Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll, recognizing the contributions of those D.C. Bar members and others authorized to perform legal work who donated 50 hours or more of pro bono service during the last calendar year. The Courts extend their gratitude to the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center and the D.C. Access to Justice Commission for their partnership in sponsoring the Honor Roll.

Over 4,500 attorneys (4,572) reported performing 50 hours or more of volunteer legal work in 2021. Even more impressive, over 56% of these attorneys (2,595) reported performing 100 hours or more of pro bono work in 2021, qualifying them for inclusion in the High Honor Roll. The D.C. Courts are especially pleased that the Honor Roll represents such a strong dedication from D.C. Bar members to pro bono service, as attorneys face ever increasing pressures to bill more hours, work more efficiently, and use fewer resources, and pressures related to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

In a joint letter to the honorees, the Chief Judges wrote, "As chief judges, we are acutely aware of the severe hardships faced by low-income individuals who all too frequently must represent themselves in proceedings, often against represented parties. We are also aware of the growing need for access to pro bono services as thousands of D.C. residents confront the stresses of reduced income and new legal challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. We salute you for using your talents and expertise to help those unable to afford an attorney, and rely on your continued dedication and compassion in the face of new challenges that threaten equal access to justice.

The Capital Honor Roll members reflect a diverse cross-section of the D.C. legal community, representing 165 law firms and solo practices, federal government agencies, and public interest organizations. Their service would not be possible without the support of the District’s legal services community in screening and referring cases, offering trainings, and providing support and mentorship to pro bono volunteers. The Chief Judges said, “The District of Columbia is fortunate to have a truly extraordinary cadre of legal services organizations whose attorneys work tirelessly every day to make access to justice a reality."

In addition to this recognition from the D.C. Courts, all Honor Roll members satisfy their professional obligation under Rule 6.1 of the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct by performing 50 hours or more of pro bono service. Outside of this professional obligation, Honor Roll members performing pro bono work in the D.C. Courts demonstrate a commitment to serving their District neighbors.

If you want to learn more about how to volunteer to help District residents in need of legal help, go to https://www.probono.net/dc/ under “Volunteer.” You’ll find a list of pro bono opportunities, upcoming pro bono trainings, a directory of organizations seeking pro bono volunteers – and a fact sheet on civil legal needs in the District.


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