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Motions For Reimbursement of Pro Bono Attorney Expenses

Introduction

The Court appreciates the pro bono services provided by those who have volunteered to be members of the District's Pro Bono Panel.  There is no statutory provision for the reimbursement of expenses; however, the Court provides reimbursement for some reasonable, out-of-pocket expenses from its Attorney Admission Fee Fund (the "Fund"), up to $3,000.00 per case.

These reimbursements might not cover all actual expenses. 

Motions for Reimbursement of Pro Bono Attorney Expenses

At the conclusion of the representation, a pro bono attorney may file a motion for reimbursement that includes an explanation of their expenses, and must include an attached receipt for each of the expenses claimed.  An interim motion for reimbursement may be filed if the attorney has advanced a significant expense or if the case remains pending for more than one year.  Payments made to the pro bono attorney from the Fund are subject to reimbursement to the Court if the attorney prevails on an award of costs and attorney fees.

Allowable Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Examples of out-of-pocket expenses include:

  1. Costs of lodging and meals - If you have been pre-approved by the Court for travel solely associated with this case, reimbursable costs are limited to actual lodging and meal expenses for the pro bono attorney in an amount not to exceed the government per diem allowance provided for court personnel.
  2. Mileage - Travel costs in excess of a 30 mile radius are limited to reimbursement at the then current government rate.
  3. Copy costs - Actual expenses, at no higher than average copy rates, for copies of records and documents necessary for case preparation.
  4. Computerized research - The cost of services such as Lexis or Westlaw may be reimbursed.
  5. Deposition costs - Court reporter fees for depositions of essential witnesses may be reimbursed.  A transcript of the deposition should not be ordered unless it is essential to the presentation of the case.  To reduce expenses, out of town witness depositions should be taken by telephone or video teleconference.
  6. Witness fees and service of process fees - While these fees are ordinarily reimbursed, you must attempt service by mail or other reduced cost method first.
  7. Expert witnesses – Expert witness expenses will be reimbursed only if prior Court approval is obtained.  You should submit a budget with your request; the Court will set a limit on expenses related to experts.
  8. Telephone calls, e-mails, and postage - These include necessary communication charges and postage incurred in your representation.

Recovery of Advanced Costs

Where the pro bono attorney prevails on an award of costs and attorney fees, the Court may order reimbursement to the Fund of payments made to the pro bono attorney.

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