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TCL > December 1999 Issue > CBA and Supreme Court Action Regarding Aspirational Pro Bono Goal

December 1999       Vol. 28, No. 12       Page  19

CBA and Supreme Court Action Regarding Aspirational Pro Bono Goal
by JoAnn Viola Salazar

CBA Board of Governors Action

After the CBA Pro Bono Task Force presented its report and recommendations to the CBA Board of Governors at its meeting on September 23, 1999, ABA Model Rule 6.1 was adopted as an aspirational goal for the CBA membership. However, the Board chose not to recommend ABA Model Rule 6.1 to the Colorado Supreme Court for adoption as a court rule.

Other recommendations passed by the Board included the following:

1) establish a "pro bono advertising fund" for periodic publication to lawyers of their pro bono responsibilities;

2) endorse and provide resources to establish local judicial district pro bono committees;

3) refer pro bono issues that are of concern to government attorneys and judges to the CBA Ethics and Availability of Legal Services Committees for review; and

4) continue the mandate of the task force through January 2000.

Colorado Supreme Court Action

The Colorado Supreme Court published a proposed amendment to the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct [28 The Colorado Lawyer 127 (Sept. 1999)], and held a public hearing on October 28, 1999. On November 2, 1999, the Court repealed and readopted Colo. RPC 6.1, Voluntary Pro Bono Public Service, with an effective date of January 1, 2000. Here is the new rule in its entirety, but without attached comment.

A lawyer should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono publico legal services per year. In fulfilling this responsibility, the lawyer should:

(a) provide a substantial majority of (50) hours of legal services without fee or expectation of fee to:

(1) persons of limited means or

(2) charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters which are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means; and

(b) provide any additional services through:

(1) delivery of legal services at no fee or a substantially reduced fee to individuals, 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 their organizational purposes, where the payment of standard legal fees would significantly deplete the organization's economic resources or would be otherwise inappropriate;

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

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

In addition, a lawyer should voluntarily contribute financial support to organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means.

Where constitutional, statutory or regulatory restrictions prohibit government and public sector lawyers or judges from performing the pro bono services outlined in paragraph (a)(1) and (2), those individuals should fulfill their pro bono responsibility by performing services or participating in activities outlined in paragraph (b).

The official rule and comment will be published in the "Court Business" section of the January 2000 issue of The Colorado Lawyer.

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