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Pro Bono Service Opportunity

Attorneys in the Eastern District of Missouri have a unique opportunity to fulfill their professional obligation to perform pro bono service by providing legal assistance to unrepresented civil litigants in the United States District Court on a volunteer basis. In the Fall of 2013, the Court began assembling 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 allows lawyers with a particular interest in pro bono service to join a roster of volunteer attorneys from which judges will make most civil case appointments. Lawyers who join the panel are encouraged to specify case types and areas of practice in which they have a particular interest to serve as appointed counsel. As civil cases involving an unrepresented party become available, panel members receive email notifications from the Clerk of Court describing the pending case for which counsel is being sought. This provides volunteer attorneys the opportunity to select cases in which they may have a special interest or expertise. If no volunteer responds within seven business days, the attorney appointment will be made by the Clerk of Court from the volunteer panel list.

Law firms as well as individual attorneys are encouraged to participate in the Pro Bono Volunteer 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). Limited compensation for attorney fees and reasonable expenses is available.

Any attorney or law firm representative interested in providing service in this program should contact Greg J. Linhares, Clerk of Court, at 314-244-7890 or The application and a copy of the Plan are attached at the bottom of this page for prospective volunteers. The new program began in February 2014.

Please email completed Pro Bono Volunteer Panel Applications to:

or mail to:

Betty Ann Skrien
U.S. District Court
Eastern District of Missouri
111 South Tenth Street, Rm. 3.300
St. Louis, MO 63102