CT Lawyers have an ethical responsibility to provide pro bono service

Pursuant to Rule 6.1 of the Professional Rules of Conduct, “A lawyer should render public interest legal service. A lawyer may discharge this responsibility by providing professional services at no fee or a reduced fee to persons of limited means or to public service or charitable groups or organizations, by service in activities for improving the law, the legal system or the legal profession, and by financial support for organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means.”

About the Need for Pro Bono Service

We have a serious access to justice gap in Connecticut, now amplified by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At any given time in Connecticut:

  • 77% of litigants in CT custody cases are self-represented; many cannot afford an attorney even though they may risk losing regular access to their child.
  • About 21,000 litigants in property foreclosure proceedings are self-represented each year. Many cannot afford an attorney and risk losing their house, which may be a home to other family members, children, or elderly. 
  • There is only about one CT civil legal aid attorney per 5,000 CT residents with low or no income.

Thousands of Connecticut families face serious benefits, consumer, education, family, housing and immigration issues without the legal expertise necessary to navigate those complicated and overwhelming problems.

Donate Now!

If you can’t take on a pro bono matter right now, consider making a donation to one (or all) of Connecticut’s legal services providers

Your support will go a long way towards ensuring access to justice for Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents.

Donate Now 

Ways to Provide Pro Bono Service Through the CBA

CBA Pro Bono Connect

Volunteer to take on at least one case for a CT client in need per year. Volunteers receive complimentary training and educational seminars from the CBA. You’ll be matched with a case referred by one of CT’s legal service providers based on your expressed pro bono interests.

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Free Legal Advice Clinics

CT residents with legal questions can sign-up in advance for a free thirty-minute appointment with a volunteer attorney in a particular area of law. Law student and paralegal volunteers are needed to conduct intake interviews. Attorneys can volunteer for as many or as few time slots as they want.

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CT Free Legal Answers

CT Free Legal Answers is an online civil legal service for people who cannot afford to pay for an attorney. Attorneys will answer questions through an online portal.

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Lawyers in Libraries

Members of the public can meet with a volunteer attorney to receive free legal advice at a local library during a two-hour event each month. Registration in advance is required for a 20-minute appointment. Areas of law covered include landlord/tenant, immigration, family, employment, consumer rights, and personal injury.

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Emeritus Pro Bono Attorney Program

The Emeritus Pro Bono Attorney Program is for retired and non-practicing attorneys to engage in pro bono work under the supervision of a legal services organization or with a CBA sponsored pro bono project to further narrow the access to justice gap.

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Bankruptcy Pro Bono Program

The Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section has formed a panel of volunteer attorneys to represent needy and qualified individuals or married spouses pro bono in Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, contested matters and adversary proceedings.

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Pro Bono Information

Connecticut Legal Aid Organizations

There are more than 20 legal aid organizations that meet the legal needs of some of Connecticut's most vulnerable residents.  

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CCADV's CT Resource Guide for Attorneys, Advocates, and Professionals

CCADV has generously made its Connecticut Resource Guide for Attorneys, Advocates, and Professionals available to CBA volunteers.

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Malpractice Insurance

In general, the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) provides malpractice insurance coverage for volunteer attorneys engaged in pro bono services for CBA-sponsored projects. For Pro Bono Connect, malpractice insurance is not provided by the CBA, but is typically available through the legal aid organization that matches attorneys with a case. You will have the opportunity to discuss this with the referring legal aid organization before deciding to accept the referral. If you volunteer directly with a legal aid organization or pro bono opportunity not sponsored by the CBA, you will need to inquire with the legal aid organization or sponsoring entity to determine if their malpractice coverage applies to your pro bono services for projects sponsored by them.

Pro Bono News

  • YLS Pro Bono Golf Event Thumbnail Young Lawyers Section Hosts 2023 Pro Bono Fair and Golf Event

    Tuesday, October 24, 2023

    On October 19, the Connecticut Bar Association Young Lawyers Section hosted its annual Pro Bono Fair and Golf Event at the Hartford Golf Club. Over 50 people attended the event, which consisted of a nine-hole round of golf followed by a reception.

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Pro Bono Committee

The Pro Bono Committee has a service that is an integral part of the mission of the Connecticut Bar Association and each individual lawyer’s responsibility. As such, the CBA Pro Bono Committee should strive to “promote the public interest through the advancement of justice and the protection of liberty,” and more specifically, “facilitate the delivery of competent legal services to the public particularly those in greatest need.” Constitution of the CBA, Art. II. The committee should investigate, implement, and otherwise provide opportunities for members to render public interest legal service, which includes “providing professional legal services at no fee or a reduced fee to persons of limited means” or such service as defined in the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 6.1.

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Pro Bono Events