About GRBF and Pro Bono Service

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Being a lawyer is not merely a vocation. It is a public trust, and each of us has an obligation to give back to our communities.

Janet Reno
GRBF mission

GRBF’s Mission

The Mission of the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation (GRBF) is to expand access to Justice by mobilizing, training, and connecting attorneys to pro bono clients. We help attorneys do pro bono. In Central Virginia, GRBF works with legal aid organizations, local government agencies, and community organizations to assess needs for pro bono services and then connects lawyers to these opportunities to serve.

We believe that access to justice should not depend on income, and a just legal system produces outcomes based on the law and equity, not personal wealth. Our Vision is for all Virginia attorneys to commit to pro bono service.

About us

Why Pro Bono Matters

Over 80% of the legal needs of the poor are unmet. (2007 Legal Needs Study)
The 2017 Justice Gap Report of the federal Legal Services Corporation found that 86 percent of the civil legal problems reported by low-income Americans received inadequate or no legal help. This was an increase in need from 80 percent in an ABA 1994 study.
This matters because litigants represented by counsel are in general twice as likely to receive a positive outcome as those who are unrepresented. The gap between outcomes is an error rate because it depends on the absence or presence of an attorney, not upon an impartial weighing of all facts and law.
Why Pro Bono Matters
0 %
of cases have no lawyer on either side.
Legal AID
Unfortunately, Legal Aid cannot help everyone who qualifies. With fewer than 200 full time legal aid attorneys in Virginia to support all of the need, many lower income litigants will proceed in court without representation, increasing the likelihood of a poor outcome.

What’s our responsibility as Virginia attorneys?

Rule 6.1 of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct states,

 “(a) A lawyer should render at least two percent per year of the lawyer’s professional time to pro bono publico legal services. Pro bono publico services include poverty law, civil rights law, public interest law, and volunteer activities designed to increase the availability of pro bono legal services.

(b) A law firm or other group of lawyers may satisfy their responsibility collectively under this Rule.

(c) Direct financial support of programs that provide direct delivery of legal services to meet the needs described in (a) above is an alternative method for fulfilling a lawyer’s responsibility under this Rule.

Rule 6.1 comments:

[1] Every lawyer, regardless of professional prominence or professional work load, has a personal responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay, and personal involvement in the problems of the disadvantaged can be one of the most rewarding experiences in the life of a lawyer. …

What’s our responsibility as Virginia attorneys

GRBF’s History

Voluntery Reports

GRBF’s Programs and Services

TRIAGE PROJECT

The Triage Project is the country’s first effort to directly support Legal Aid, with volunteer attorneys taking legal aid referrals in high need practice areas...

PRO BONO CLEARINGHOUSE

The Pro Bono Clearinghouse connects experienced transactional attorneys with nonprofits in need of legal counsel...

EVICTION DIVERSION PROGRAM (EDP)

To help address the Eviction Crisis in Richmond, the Eviction Diversion Program engages volunteers to serve as neutral conciliators in unlawful detainer (eviction) cases...

WILLS CLINICS

Wills clinics provide easy and rewarding opportunities for pro bono work.

FIRMS IN SERVICE—RICHMOND

Firms In Service® is a network of private law firms and corporate law departments who have committed to increasing the availability of pro bono legal services...

JUSTICESERVER

JusticeServer® is an innovative case management system designed to connect volunteer attorneys with active pro bono referrals from legal aid organizations.

GRBF's History

Formed in 1978 to serve as a fund for judicial portraits, GRBF has steadily evolved, shifting focus in the early 2000s to provide free legal services to nonprofit organizations and encourage participation in pro bono service work. The work of the Foundation is made possible through the generous support of our donors, the hard work of our volunteers, and our dedicated Board of Directors. Through various programs and collaborations, GRBF’s Vision is to bridge the Justice Gap by increasing pro bono participation to 100% of licensed attorneys in the Commonwealth of Virginia.