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PRO BONO/ATTORNEY REFERRAL PILOT PROGRAM
The Private-Bar Pro Bono Pilot Program Committee of the Court of Federal Claims Bar Association is pleased to announce its role in facilitating the operation of a Pro Bono/Attorney Referral Pilot Program, under which legal representation may potentially be available to pro se plaintiffs who are referred to the program by the assigned judge in appropriate cases pending in the Court of Federal Claims.
Under the Pilot Program’s Standard Operating Procedures, the decision to refer a pro se plaintiff is entirely within the discretion of the judge assigned to the case, and the program applies only to pending cases. When the Court issues a referral order, the Bar Association, acting through the Committee, will notify counsel who have registered for the program that the pro se plaintiff has been referred, and will also forward basic information about the case provided by the Clerk’s Office.
After receiving notice of a referral to the pilot program, if you are interested in representing the pro se plaintiff in a particular case, you will notify the Bar Association, and the Bar Association will in turn provide your contact information to the pro se plaintiff. As with any attorney-client relationship, the pro se plaintiff’s decision to engage counsel, and your decision to accept the case, will be between you and the pro se plaintiff.
If the pro se plaintiff engages you, you must notify the Bar Association within 45 days of the referral order, and also file with the Court a motion to substitute counsel within 60 days of the referral order. If there is no agreement for pro bono representation in the case, the Bar Association will notify the Court within 45 days of a referral order.
The Bar Association encourages private practitioners to register for the pilot program. To register, simply complete the form available here and email it to the Court, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
** Participation in the Pro Bono/Attorney Referral Pilot Program is voluntary. The pro se plaintiff has no obligation to retain a participating attorney, and the participating attorney has no obligation to accept a case. All matters concerning the attorney-client relationship, including a potential attorney-client relationship, are governed by the respective attorney’s State Bar rules of professional conduct and the Rules of the United States Court of Federal Claims. The Bar Association does not endorse or recommend any participating attorney, and provides no assurances concerning a participating attorney’s qualifications or competency. The Bar Association does not represent any party and is not responsible for any fees or costs. Under the Pro Bono/Attorney Referral Pilot Program, the Bar Association has no obligation to obtain suitable counsel for a referred plaintiff. The Bar Association has no role in the decision to refer a case to the pilot program, and does not make any representation regarding the merits of any party’s position in a case. Referral of a case to the pilot program by the Court of Federal Claims is discretionary and is not an indication of the assigned judge’s assessment of the merits of any party’s position. The Bar Association’s role is limited only to notifying program participants about a potential representation opportunity and facilitating communication between the potential attorney and the pro se plaintiff.
Members of the Bar Associations that are U.S. Government attorneys, including attorneys of the Department of Justice, will not participate in the Pro Bono/Attorney Referral Pilot Program. Only private-bar members of the Court of Federal Claims Bar Association may participate in facilitating the operation of the Pro Bono Pilot Program on behalf of the Bar Association.