News and analysis
June 15, 2010

Hours of Free Legal Help for Charities Rose in 2009

Law firms provided slightly more pro-bono aid to nonprofit groups last year than in 2008, despite declining revenues and widespread layoffs that shrunk firms’ ranks, says a new report.

In 2009, 134 law firms performed nearly 4.9-million hours of free assistance, an increase of nearly 24,000 hours from 2008, according to the study by the Pro Bono Institute.

“We were hoping to just hold our own on pro-bono contributions this year, but to see growth like this is outstanding,” said Esther F. Lardent, the institute’s president, in a statement.

Law firms also gave more money last year to nonprofit groups that provide free legal services to poor people. Sixty-six firms polled said they gave more than $27.6-million in cash to such charities, an increase of $1.9-million from 2008.

The full report is available at .