State Bar Pro Bono

The State Bar of Texas is a leader amongst the states when it comes to pro bono. These are its current pro bono programs. Contact us if you have any questions about these programs.

New Opportunities Volunteer Attorney (NOVA) Pro Bono Program enables you to continue doing pro bono work after you retire even if your license is no longer active and even if you are licensed in a state besides Texas.  NOVA is governed by Article XIII of the State Bar Rules and replaces the prior Emeritus Attorney Pro Bono Participation Program. NOVA differs in the following ways:

  • Inactive members of the State Bar of Texas and lawyers licensed in other states who are in good standing may participate. Under the prior Emeritus Program, only retired Texas and out-of-state licensed attorneys were able to do so; and
     
  • Attorney participants must complete 3 hours of MCLE annually.

Attorney Requirements

To qualify, an attorney must:

  • be in good standing with the State Bar or the entity that governs the practice of law in the jurisdiction where the attorney is licensed;
  • be in good standing with all courts and jurisdictions in which the attorney is admitted to practice;
  • agree to abide by the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and to submit to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Texas &
    the State Bar;
  • has not been disciplined for professional misconduct within the past 10 years and is not subject to a pending disciplinary proceeding;
  • volunteer through an approved legal services organization;
  • complete 3 hours of CLE annually;
  • recertify annually to remain in the program.

Benefits

Attorneys can keep their legal skills sharp by practicing law they already know or learn new areas of the law. Plus, there is no greater personal satisfaction than helping Texans in need.


Pro Bono Program Requirements

To qualify, approved legal aid organizations must:

  • provide free legal services;
  • provide free MCLE opportunities to volunteers;
  • provide experienced mentors;
  • maintain malpractice insurance for its NOVAs;
  • be either:
    • (a) a nonprofit that:
      • is funded in part by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation;
      • is funded in part by the Legal Services Corporation;
      •  is a current participant in the State Bar of Texas Malpractice Insurance Network Exchange; or
      • provides at least 50% of its legal services at no cost to Texans living at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines published annually by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
    • (b) a clinic or pro bono program of a Texas law school; or
    • (c) a pro bono project or program of the State Bar or of a local or specialty bar association within Texas.

Current List of Approved Organizations


Program Applications

We are currently working to make this process automated; in the meantime, we are using the following applications:

TEXAS ATTORNEYS: AUTOMATED APPLICATION

ATTORNEYS LICENSED OUTSIDE OF TEXAS: VOLUNTEER APPLICATION

NOVA ORGANIZATION APPLICATION