We created the Wisconsin Pro Bono Honor Society as a way to celebrate Wisconsin lawyers who help to provide equal access to justice under law by performing at least 50 hours of qualifying pro bono legal services during the past calendar year. Attorneys may certify that they or another attorney qualify. Law firms, judges, and agencies who are knowledgeable about an attorney’s pro bono work may also certify attorneys who meet the criteria. We begin accepting certifications each fall through the form below. To find the right volunteer opportunity for you, visit the State Bar of Wisconsin’s pro bono portal.
Our previous honorees can be viewed here.
Attorneys are eligible for certification if they are in good standing with the State Bar of Wisconsin and have performed at least 50 hours of qualifying pro bono legal services during the preceding calendar year. Qualifying pro bono legal services for this program means the direct provision of legal services without fee or expectation of fee, or at a substantially reduced fee, to:
- persons of limited means;
- organizations in matters that are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means; or
- charitable, religious, civic, community governmental and educational organizations to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties or public rights so long as a substantial majority of such services benefit persons of limited means or organizations that serve persons of limited means
Frequently Asked Questions
What does inclusion in the Wisconsin Pro Bono Honor Society mean? It doesn’t mean that you have to go to more meetings or incur other obligations. We have two goals: highlighting the important role that volunteers play in access to justice and encouraging other lawyers to follow your example. We publish an annual list of the honorees on our website and the State Bar publishes the list in the Wisconsin Lawyer magazine. The Commission works to support local recognition events for our honorees. We also contact local media to highlight the pro bono contributions of lawyers in each year’s Pro Bono Honor Society.
Do only free legal services qualify? No, substantially reduced fee legal services also qualify. Some examples include: public defender appointments, GAL appointments, and Wisconsin Judicare cases.