Although the concept of pro bono publico, the rendering of an attorney's services without or with substantially reduced compensation, has been in existence for centuries, there has been an increasing interest in the question of whether this public service can be made a mandatory one. This note will explore the development of a mandatory service requirement by reviewing the American treatment of such an obligation. Some attention will be given to foreign approaches as well. In addition, the need for legal assistance will be analyzed. Finally, in view of the uncertain status of a mandatory pro bono system, suggestions for workable and substantially enlarged voluntary programs will be made. It seems that concentrating on efforts to increase voluntary contributions, and promoting funding both on the government's part and on the part of private charity, may be a better way to assure that the guarantee of equal justice for all will become a reality.
Note, The Pro Bono Debate and Suggestions for a Workable Program, 38 Clev. St. L. Rev. 617 (1990)