WHEREAS, in December 2001, the Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association empanelled a Pro Bono Task Force ("Task Force") to investigate and report on the state of pro bono services in the Philadelphia Bar Association; and
WHEREAS, on June 19, 2002, the Task Force issued a report, with findings and recommendations, and presented the report to the Board of Governors at its next scheduled meeting, on June 27, 2002; and,
WHEREAS, on September 26, 2002, the Board of Governors formally adopted more than sixty (60) recommendations of the Task Force; and,
WHEREAS, among the Task Force's recommendations was a recommendation that the Philadelphia Bar Association coordinate the development of a mechanism for the annual reporting of large law firms' participation in pro bono activities that would act as the local equivalent of the AmLaw 100 Pro Bono Survey; and,
WHEREAS, the American Lawyer annually publishes a survey of the pro bono efforts of the countrys largest 200 law firms, including many Philadelphia firms; and,
WHEREAS, in February 2003, the Chancellor requested that the Philadelphia Bar Association's Law Firm Pro Bono Committee develop an annual reporting form; and,
WHEREAS, on March 25, 2004, the Board of Governors approved the reporting form, attached as Exhibit A, and urged the annual reporting of pro bono statistics and contributions to legal services by large law firms, but stipulated that the information reported by each of the law firms shall be kept confidential, except that the information collected may be reported in the aggregate, and the identities of those law firms reporting each year may be made public, except to the extent that law firms agreed to have their information made public by the Philadelphia Bar Association; and,
WHEREAS, the Large Firm Pro Bono Committee has studied the issue of reporting pro bono statistics for the past year and believes that the goals of the Task Force and the terms of its recommendations would be better met by greater transparency in the reporting process; and,
WHEREAS, publication of the AmLaw pro bono survey has been extremely successful in encouraging larger law firms to meet their pro bono obligations; and,
WHEREAS, most large law firms now report their pro bono statistics publicly for a variety of surveys, including AmLaw, National Association for Legal Career Professionals (NALP), VAULT, client RFPs and a variety of judicial conferences and state agencies, thereby eliminating the novelty of such reporting; and,
WHEREAS, when conducting this years survey (of 2005 pro bono data) of the 30 firms with the greatest number of Philadelphia lawyers, the Pro Bono Committee advised the firms that it intended to request that the Bar Association publish the results of the survey and asked each firm (1) whether it would agree to publication of its data, and (2) whether it recommended publication of all firms data and the identities of all firms who were asked to participate, see attached letter and survey form; and
WHEREAS, Approximately 2/3 of the firms responded, and all responding firms agreed to release of their own data, and the publication of pro bono data from all firms, including the names of firms that did not respond; in addition, one firm responded that it did not have data this year, but that intended to collect such data in the future and would not object to its release; and,
WHEREAS, the Raising the Bar campaign now collects data concerning law firm contributions to legal services agencies, thereby eliminating the need to collect such data in the Pro Bono Survey; and,
WHEREAS, the Law Firm Pro Bono Committee hereby recommends that the Philadelphia Bar Association release and publish the results of the pro bono survey conducted by the committee, including the names of the firms that failed to respond to the survey, pursuant to the format used in the 2006 survey in Exhibit B.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Philadelphia Bar Association hereby approves and adopts the amended annual pro bono reporting format attached in Exhibit B, which deletes the request for information about contributions to legal services organizations and stipulations of confidentiality, and urges its members law firms to report annually their law firms' pro bono participation in the survey to be compiled and published annually by the Philadelphia Bar Association.
AND, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Chancellor is authorized to take any and all actions necessary to implement the annual reporting of law firm pro bono activities.
PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: SEPTEMBER 28, 2006