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A Snippet of History

Pro Bono Week: Where it came from and why it's important


Governor Inslee recently signed a proclamation designating October 20-26 Pro Bono Week.

In the legal field, pro bono refers to legal services provided without charge to the client. Volunteering pro bono service is encouraged by many state bar associations, mandated by others, and addressed in the Attorney Code of Professional Conduct. Pro bono is widely associated with free, but it isn’t just about the money. The term pro bono is actually the shortened version of the Latin phrase pro bono publico, which means “for the public good.” So to work pro bono doesn’t just mean working for free. It also means working to improve the well-being (good) of society (the public).


To highlight the importance and necessity of pro bono work, the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono Public Service established the last full week of October as National Pro Bono Week. The goal of Pro Bono Week is to raise awareness for the need of pro bono services, and to recognize attorneys who are volunteering their skills to meet this need. Since it was established ten years ago, Pro Bono Week has blossomed. Pro Bono Week is now embraced on a local, national, and international scale with conferences, presentations, and celebrations throughout the week.


Be part of the celebration! Celebrate Pro Bono Week with the VLP.

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