Pro Bono Representation in Civil Cases

The oath of admission to The Florida Bar includes, "I will never reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless or oppressed." Rule 4-6.1 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar provides, "Each member of The Florida Bar in good standing, as part of that member's professional responsibility, should (1) render pro bono legal services to the poor and (2) participate, to the extent possible, in other pro bono service activities that directly relate to the legal needs of the poor."

The local chapters of the Federal Bar Association maintain a list of members of the Middle District of Florida bar willing to represent litigants in federal court on a pro bono basis. If a judge finds appointment of counsel in a civil case is necessary (usually only in an exceptional case), he or she will ask the Clerk of Court to determine if an attorney on the list is able to accept the appointment.

The Court has adopted a plan for such appointments. Click here to view the plan.

The plan includes provisions governing reimbursement of expenses incurred by an attorney appointed under the plan. The plan includes a list of expenses eligible for reimbursement. The Court will determine appropriateness of reimbursement on a case-by-case basis.

If you have been appointed under the plan and want to be reimbursed for expenses, you must complete a petition for reimbursement within 45 days of the end of representation or closure of the case. Click here to complete a form petition. Note you must obtain pre-approval for any expense that is more than $1,500 if you expect to be reimbursed for it. Click here to complete a form approval request. Click here to submit either completed form.

Lawyers who have questions about the plan or who want to be added to the list of attorneys willing to accept pro bono appointments in civil cases may contact Susanne Weisman at (904) 549-1304.