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Pro Bono Appointments in Civil Cases

The oath of admission to The Florida Bar includes the promise:

"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."


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The local chapters of the Federal Bar Association and other local voluntary federal bar organizations are encouraged to maintain a list of members of the court's bar willing to represent civil litigants in federal court on a pro bono basis or establish a process for publishing appointment opportunities to their membership. If a judge finds that appointment of counsel in a civil case is necessary (usually only in an exceptional case), the judge may: (1) request that the clerk publish the pro bono opportunity on the court’s website; and (2) request that the clerk contact a voluntary federal bar organization to request that the organization identify an attorney willing to accept the appointment or publish the appointment opportunity to its membership.

The Plan for Pro Bono Representation by Appointment in Civil Cases for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida allows counsel appointed under the plan to request reimbursement of certain expenses.  

As outlined in the plan, the reimbursement process is accomplished in two phases. First, counsel must submit for approval a Proposed Expense Budget form no later than 60 days after the date of the order of appointment. Second, counsel must submit for approval a Petition for Reimbursement of Civil Pro Bono Expenses form no later than 45 days after the case is closed or the representation has otherwise ended. Appointed counsel must first pay any expense before seeking reimbursement and may not submit unpaid invoices to the court for direct payment to any provider. The court will not issue payment directly to a provider.

Lawyers may email questions about the plan or opportunities for pro bono appointment to or contact Susanne Weisman at (904) 549-1304.