Bipartisan Pro Bono Legislation Receives First Hearing In Ohio House Committee
Legislation incentivizes lawyers, law firms to represent impoverished clients

COLUMBUS—State Representatives Jeffery Rezabek (R-Clayton) and John M. Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) this week testified in support of House Bill 232, bipartisan legislation that allows lawyers or law firms to claim a tax deduction for engaging in pro bono work and providing certain legal services for impoverished clients through a legal aid entity.
“I want to thank Rep. Rogers for allowing me join him in this effort to provide more legal assistance to those who cannot afford it in civil cases,” said Rezabek. “This piece of legislation serves as the next step in attempting to provide justice for all.”

Ohio Legal Aid provides legal assistance for in-need Ohioans who could otherwise not afford legal counsel on their own. Thousands of Ohio attorneys each year volunteer countless hours of their time through a legal aid entity when offering their assistance and professional services pro bono.

“Plaintiffs who have experienced harassment, divorce, and many other civil injustices may lose winnable cases because they do not have the financial means to afford legal counsel,” said Rogers. “Ohio Legal Aid provides an opportunity for attorneys to donate their time and skills to assist those who would otherwise be left behind in the complex web of the legal system.”
The Ohio Supreme Court recently began offering limited Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit for pro bono work; however, CLE credit seldom reflects the true amount of time and cost of the pro bono work attorneys provide.
“Because of limited resources, many legal aid entities have to turn away a vast amount of low-income individuals seeking help with important legal matters,” said Rogers. “I believe it is important that we continue to support pro bono entities and expand access for those who need legal representation.”
House Bill 232 specifies a $10,000 annual tax deduction limit and includes a sunset clause six years after the bill is enacted.

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