The Federal Pro Bono Program

The Federal Pro Bono Program is a program in the District of Nevada which allows the court to appoint pro bono (unpaid) counsel for unrepresented, income-eligible litigants in certain civil cases.  At any time during the course of a case, an assigned judge may refer the case to the program for appointment of a pro bono attorney.  The judges look at a variety of factors before selecting the cases to be considered for pro bono counsel, including the pro se (unrepresented) litigant’s ability to obtain counsel, the merits of the case, and the type of complexity of the case.  The referrals are then sent to either Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada (for cases in Clark County or Southern Nevada) or Washoe Legal Services (for cases in Washoe Country or Northern Nevada), which then screen the litigant for financial eligibility.  If the litigant qualifies, Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada or Washoe Legal Services will attempt to find a pro bono lawyer to participate in the case.  If the litigant agrees to be represented by the lawyer, the judge will order the appointment.  The District of Nevada’s General Order 2017-07 has more information on the program and the process.

For Pro Se Litigants

The federal judge decides if he or she wants to refer your case for the appointment of a pro bono lawyer through the Federal Pro Bono Program.  You cannot apply for the referral yourself; the judge will determine if a referral is appropriate once your case has started.  If you are looking for more information on representing yourself, visit the District of Nevada’s Pro Se page, review the Pro Se Assistance Packet, visit Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada to get more information on the Federal Ask-A-Lawyer Program, visit Nevada Legal Services to get more information on their Ask-A-Lawyer programs and forms clinics; or visit Washoe Legal Services for more information on the Federal Ask-A-Lawyer Clinic.