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Applying for Pro Bono Representation

If you are unable to pay for an attorney but would like legal representation in a pending, active civil suit in District Court, you may submit a Motion for Appointment of Pro Bono Counsel. The decision to appoint pro bono counsel lies with the judge presiding over your case. Judicial officers may order the appointment of counsel for all purposes or for other specific purposes, such as assistance in mediation or settlement conferences.

Appointment for a Specific Purpose

The Specific Purpose Appointment is used when a Judge appoints an attorney or law firm for the completion of a specific task. Common uses for this type of appointment include:

  • drafting an amended complaint;
  • preparing for and/or appearing at a mediation, settlement conference, or deposition; and
  • responding to a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary judgment.

You can expect an attorney to contact you if one is appointed to you. However, bear in mind that you have not been assigned an attorney for the entirety of your case. Within 14 days of the Order Appointing Pro Bono Counsel, the Court expects attorneys appointed for a Specific Purpose to:

  1. determine if a conflict of interest exists or request removal from the case for a specific reason other than a conflict of interest; and
  2. electronically file the Pro Bono Appointment Response Form accepting or declining the appointment.

After completion of the task(s) specified in the Order Appointing Pro Bono Counsel, the attorney/law firm appointed for a Specific Purpose Appointment will electronically file the Notice of Completion of Pro Bono Appointment. You will be expected to proceed pro se from that point forward.

Appointment for All Purposes

An Appointment for All Purposes is intended to provide you with legal counsel for the duration of the lawsuit. You can expect to hear from an attorney after one has been appointed to you. However, bear in mind that this person is not necessarily going to accept the appointment. Conflicts of interest, scheduling issues, or other factors may prevent the attorney from accepting this case. Within 14 days of the Order Appointing Pro Bono Counsel, the Court expects an attorney/law firm appointed for an All Purpose Appointment to:

  1. determine if a conflict of interest exists or request removal from the case for a specific reason other than a conflict of interest; and
  2. electronically file the Pro Bono Appointment Response Form accepting or declining the appointment.