Pennsylvania Bar Association Pro Bono Home Page
"Service is the rent we pay for living. It is not something to do in your spare time; it is the very purpose of life."
-Marion Wright Edelman, founder, Children's Defense Fund
Information on Proposed Elimination of Federal Funding for Legal Services Corp
County Pro Bono Map
Extraordinary Pro Bono Service: Lawyers Making a Difference
IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts)
PBA Pro Bono-Related Committees
Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN)
Pro Bono Awards
Pro Bono Month
Volunteer or Donate
Sharon R. López, a partner in Lancaster’s Triquetra Law, became the 123rd PBA president at the conclusion of the PBA Annual Meeting, May 12, in Pittsburgh. She is the first Latina president in the history of the association. Sharon is also the first legal services attorney known to head the PBA. After her first year of law school, she started working at the local legal services office, now known as MidPenn Legal Services. Her colleagues and mentors at MidPenn encouraged her to apply her skills to the domestic violence movement. In the late 1990s, Sharon started a seven year stint at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) as their first Pennsylvania senior attorney. Although Sharon has been in private practice since 2006, her legal aid roots run deep and she promises to be a champion of access to justice during her presidency and beyond.
Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor Supports Pro Bono, January 2017
In a letter to Pennsylvania attorneys, Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Thomas G. Saylor thanked the lawyers in practice in the commonwealth for their support of civil legal aid. "[T]hank you for your contributions of financial support which you have provided to legal aid programs, as a component of your annual attorney registration fees," wrote Saylor. "I join with Pennsylvania Bar Association President Sara Austin in asking that you consider an additional personal commitment by providing pro bone service through direct representation of the poor and financial support of the Commonwealth’s legal aid programs."
PBA Pro Bono Assistance
The Pennsylvania Bar Association's Pro Bono Office assists local bar associations, legal services programs and other groups who offer pro bono legal services across the commonwealth to expand the access to justice for the neediest among us. The Pro Bono Office also provides direct legal help to those in need, from the poor to veterans. The links above will connect you to specific information available here among the PBA pro bono Web pages. Go to PALawHELP.org if you are a client seeking pro bono services; lawyers and judges interested in pro bono should check out PAProbono.net. Click here for our partners at the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono & Public Service. Click here for Pennsylvania county pro bono programs. For all pro bono questions, email PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David Keller Trevaskis at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on his cell at 717-571-7414.
Trevaskis has served as the PBA's first full-time pro bono attorney since 2001. In the 12 years since then some impressive numbers have been posted through the PBA's in-house pro bono efforts, including outreach that has touched almost 60,000 people with legal aid issues; more than 400 individuals and organizations being honored with pro bono awards; nearly 250 CLE programs having been conducted locally, regionally and across the state; and the securing of more than $500,000 in direct and in-kind support. Add in nearly three-quarters-of-a-million miles of travel and there has been a lot of activity out of an office that is staffed by a single full-time attorney and a half-time administrative assistant.
Although there was pro bono activity sponsored by the PBA prior to the October 2001, with the hiring of attorney Trevaskis as the PBA's first full-time pro bono coordinator pro bono received an increased emphasis at the PBA, with the formal creation, staffing and budgeting of a Pro Bono Office. The office was created to meet the crisis of unmet civil legal needs among the poor in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation. The defining principle of our legal system is the promise of equal justice under law for all, yet, despite all of the efforts of the PBA and the thousands of lawyers and judges statewide who take pro bono cases and support legal aid, far too many of the poor and near poor never have the opportunity even to talk to an attorney while handling legal concerns.
There is some type of pro bono activity in every county in the state; each county's approach to pro bono is unique. Please check out the County Pro Bono Activities and Other Pro Bono Resources area to find out what is happening in a particular county.
The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania summarized a lawyer's pro bono duty in its February 2011 "Attorney E-Newsletter."
 Pro Bono Awards were started in 1988. The PBA’s Task Force on the Delivery of Legal Services to the Needy under Joseph H. Jones issued its seminal report in 1989 after extensive study, conferences and continuing legal education classes were conducted during the 1990s, and the PBA’s Delivery of Legal Services to the Needy Task Force II started its work in 1998. PBA Committees did outreach and created educational materials, including pamphlets on various legal matters and videos promoting access to justice, and PBA staffers had pro bono duty assignments.
 The Pennsylvania Legal Assistance Network (PLAN) estimates that only one in five poverty-level persons with legal issues ever sees an attorney, and PLAN surveys show that half of the eligible clients who go to a legal aid office in Pennsylvania are turned away because the local offices, even with pro bono support, do not have the resources to help them. Testimony during the statewide Access to Civil Justice hearings in 2013 suggested that the number of people who qualify but still get no help might be far higher, ranging from one in 10 to one in 20 in need actually getting any direct legal service.