(a) Professional Responsibility. An attorney has a professional responsibility to render pro bono publico legal service.
(b) Discharge of Professional Responsibility. An attorney in the full-time practice of law should aspire to render at least 50 hours per year of pro bono publico legal service, and an attorney in part-time practice should aspire to render at least a pro rata number of hours.
(1) Unless an attorney is prohibited by law from rendering the legal services described below, a substantial portion of the applicable hours should be devoted to rendering legal service, without fee or expectation of fee, or at a substantially reduced fee, to:
(A) people of limited means;
(B) charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, or educational organizations in matters designed primarily to address the needs of people of limited means;
(C) individuals, groups, or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties, or public rights; or
(D) charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, or educational organizations in matters in furtherance of their organizational purposes when the payment of the standard legal fees would significantly deplete the organization's economic resources or would otherwise be inappropriate.
(2) The remainder of the applicable hours may be devoted to activities for improving the law, the legal system, or the legal profession.
(3) An attorney also may discharge the professional responsibility set forth in this Rule by contributing financial support to organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means.
(c) Effect of Noncompliance. This Rule is aspirational, not mandatory. Noncompliance with this Rule shall not be grounds for disciplinary action or other sanctions.
Cross reference: For requirements regarding reporting pro bono legal service, see Md. Rule 19-503.