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Pro Bono Program

Local Civil Rule 83.10 Assignment of Pro Bono Counsel

At the discretion of the judicial officer, counsel may be assigned to represent a pro se litigant in a civil case pursuant to the Court's Pro Bono Civil Case Protocol. Assignment of counsel is not a right of a pro se litigant but may be utilized in those limited cases where the judicial officer believes such an assignment is warranted. Pursuant to the Protocol, a judicial officer may instruct the Clerk's Office to select counsel with experience in the subject matter of the case from the list of attorneys who have volunteered to provide Pro Bono services. The Court will reimburse assigned counsel, pursuant to the Pro Bono Civil Case Protocol, for certain expenses incurred in providing representation up to $1,500.


Exempted Electronic Public Access Fees

Court appointed pro bono counsel may, upon a showing of cause, be exempted from electronic public access fees when acting in the matter to which they were appointed. Pro bono counsel who desire to be exempted from EPA fees when acting in the matter to which they were appointed should set forth their need in writing (including the case number and caption of the matter in which they are serving as pro bono counsel) to:


Sandy Opacich
Clerk of Court
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio
801 W. Superior
Cleveland, OH 44113


Pro bono counsel will not typically need a waiver of EPA fees, however, since, as counsel of record, they will be entitled to one-free look at each document filed in the pro bono case and will have the opportunity to print and/or save the documents at the time they are first viewed. Moreover, fees to access documents are among the expenses that are reimbursable up to $1,500 under the Northern District of Ohio Civil Pro Bono Protocol. Nevertheless, it may be beneficial to seek a waiver when total expenses for the pro bono case, including any electronic public access fees, are likely to be in excess of $1,500. It would also be beneficial to seek a waiver when pro bono counsel needs access to documents from other cases to assist in the pro bono representation.


Continuing Legal Education Credit

The Court has also received approval from the Ohio Supreme Court to offer Continuing Legal Education Credit (CLE) for the pro bono services that Panelists provide. Attorney volunteers can receive one CLE credit for every six hours of free service provided, up to six CLE credit hours per biennial reporting period. Attorneys who wish to receive CLE credit for their pro bono legal service will complete Ohio Supreme Court Form 23 for each pro bono assignment and submit it to the Pro Bono Department by December 31 of each calendar year. For more information, please contact the Court's Pro Bono Department at