The Association “Pro Bono Deutschland e.V.” was founded in February 2011. Its members, all of them law firms, are committed to providing gratuitous legal services for good causes, in particular charitable causes, as a part of their civic engagement (“pro bono legal advice”). The Association endeavours to achieve greater recognition and a more widespread implementation of the concept of pro bono legal advice among lawyers.
For this purpose it aims to improve, amongst other things, the framework conditions under statutory law as well as under professional codes of conduct, and to advocate engagement in the field of pro bono legal advice. The Association is committed to the principles of social justice, democracy and the rule of law and to the recognition of human rights in particular. The Association itself does not render any legal services.
The provision of pro bono legal advice is a further practical way in which lawyers can exercise their social responsibility beyond that of publicly financed mandates such as legal aid for counselling, litigation and procedural costs. Especially for law firms which do not or only insignificantly engage in legal aid mandates, this is a way in which they can increase their engagement.
More information on how to provide pro bono legal advice must be made available. The existing engagement of lawyers in this field should be made more visible and promoted more strongly. This is the Association’s objective. Amongst other things the Association is drafting recommendations for pro bono legal advice in cooperation with domestic and foreign legal associations, drawing upon the examples of countries where pro bono legal advice is already firmly established in the local legal culture. Additionally, the Association is seeking dialogue with bar organisations, authorities and legislative bodies in Germany and abroad, as well as at the EU level, to further improve the framework conditions for the provision of pro-bono legal advice.
The Association’s members also strive to set an example and motivate other lawyers and law firms which have not yet become involved in pro bono work. The Association is fundamentally open to all lawyers and law firms willing to commit themselves to the principle of pro bono legal advice and able to render such advisory services.
The Association’s objective is to provide an appropriate supplement to the existing statutory legal aid options and structures, such as legal aid for counselling, litigation and procedural costs, especially for non-profit and non-governmental organisations. As a matter of principle, the pro-bono activities of the Association and its members are non-political.