Attorneys in the Eastern District of Missouri have a unique opportunity to fulfill their professional obligation to perform pro bono public service by providing legal assistance to unrepresented civil litigants in the United States District Court. The Court is in the process of creating a panel of volunteer attorneys and law firms willing to take occasional appointments to represent a party in a civil case.
While all members of the bar of the Eastern District of Missouri, as a condition for admission to practice, are obligated under Local Rule 12.01 (I) to represent clients in pending cases when appointed by the Court, this new program will allow lawyers with a particular interest in pro bono public service to join a roster of volunteer attorneys from which judges will make most appointments. Lawyers who join the panel will be encouraged to specify case types and areas of practice in which they have a particular interest to serve as appointed counsel. Panel members will receive email notifications about new civil cases in which pro bono counsel is being sought by the Court, providing attorneys the opportunity to volunteer for cases in which they may have a special interest. If no volunteer responds within seven business days, the attorney appointment will be made by the Court from the volunteer panel list.
Law firms as well as individual attorneys are encouraged to volunteer for the Pro Bono Public Service Panel. The plan governing this panel provides that attorneys and law firms electing to participate must commit to taking at least one appointed civil case each calendar year, although the volume of cases eligible for pro bono counsel will vary over time. To be approved for the panel, an attorney must be a member in good standing of the bar of the Eastern District of Missouri and must agree to serve without compensation, except as otherwise provided in Local Rule 12.06(D)
Any attorney or law firm representative interested in providing service in this program should contact Jim Woodward, Clerk of Court, at 314-244-7890 or firstname.lastname@example.org The application and a copy of the Plan are available to prospective volunteers at http://www.moed.uscourts.gov/pbps. The new program is expected to begin in February 2014.