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Updated: Jul 31, 2019

Lawyers can now earn CLE Credit for Pro Bono work.

Legal Partners:

Supreme Court Justice Harry T. Lemmon (ret.)

Adams and Reese

Community Partners:

Louisiana State Bar Association and Louisiana Bar Foundation


Effective May 1, 2015, every lawyer who does pro bono work can earn up to three hours of CLE credit each year, under an order signed by the Louisiana Supreme Court. This Order followed a proposal by Louisiana Appleseed. Volunteer attorneys from Adams and Reese LLP—Martin Stern, Jeff Richardson and Ron Sholes—worked together with retired Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Harry T. Lemmon, on this project for Louisiana Appleseed.

Under the new rule, attorneys who provide pro bono legal representation can earn one hour of CLE credit for every five hours of pro bono representation, up to a maximum of three hours of CLE credit per year. The Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Committee issued the forms needed to claim credit for “uncompensated pro bono legal representation to an indigent or near-indigent client or clients.” To be eligible for credit, “the matter must have been assigned by a court, a bar association, or a legal services or pro bono organization that has as its primary purpose the furnishing of such pro bono legal services.

In May 2017, the rule was revised to include “other activities approved by the Committee.” This addition is intended to capture pro bono services that do not involve a “representation” per se, such as “Ask-A-Lawyer,” Wills for Heroes,, Lawyers in Libraries, self-help desks, etc. so long as it is approved by the Committee.

Entities wishing to qualify as a pro bono organization under the rule must complete the Application for Approval as a Qualifying Pro Bono Organization. In order to earn credit for pro bono representation, attorneys who perform pro bono legal work must request credit through the Louisiana State Bar Association by completing the required Application for CLE credit for Pro Bono Representation form.

Read more about the program here.

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This project focuses on the public defenders’ funding crisis in Louisiana and recent criminal justice reform.


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