Pro Bono Rules & Reporting

In 2002, the Maryland Court of Appeals adopted new rules impacting pro bono service by the bar. As part of the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 19-306.1 (also Rule 6.1) refined the definition of “pro bono publico” to include an aspirational goal of 50 hours of legal service annually for all full-time lawyers with a substantial portion of those hours being dedicated to serving people of limited means. By clarifying what qualifies as pro bono legal service, the Court transformed the vague notion of doing service “for the public good” into specific, tangible, and quantifiable activities.

Note:  “Unless an attorney is prohibited by law from rendering the legal services described below, a substantial portion of the applicable hours should be devoted to rendering legal service, without fee or expectation of fee, or at a substantially reduced fee, to (A) people of limited means; (B) charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, or educational organizations in matters designed primarily to address the needs of people of limited means; (C) individuals, groups, or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties, or public rights; or (D) charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, or educational organizations in matters in furtherance of their organizational purposes when the payment of the standard legal fees would significantly deplete the organization's economic resources or would otherwise be inappropriate.”

The Court also created a Court of Appeals’ Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Service (Rule 19-501, formerly Rule 16-901), established local pro bono committees in each county (Rule 19-502, formerly Rule 16-902), and mandated reporting of pro bono hours by each licensed attorney on an annual basis (Rule 19-503, formerly Rule 16-903) (as opposed to mandating pro bono service).  It is through the mandatory reporting process that Maryland is able to quantify the number and type of pro bono hours being donated and evaluate how the system needs to be improved.


MD Rule 19-802 - Attorneys who are admitted to the MD bar shall register with the Attorney Information System (“AIS”) within 30 days after being admitted or authorized to practice in Maryland. See 19-802(b) for exceptions.

    • July 1 – This is the beginning of the Fiscal Year. Attorneys wishing to change their status to Inactive/Retired must submit a notarized Affidavit of Inactive/Retired Status by August 31st. Attorneys who have had their Affidavit approved by the Fund no longer have payment and/or reporting obligations, including the FY in which the affidavit was submitted.
    • July 10 - On or before July 10 of each year AIS will generate and send electronically to each attorney who is responsible for an assessment, or who has volunteered to contribute to the Fund, a notice of assessment for the next ensuing fiscal year. Payment may be made by credit card in AIS or by mailing a check or money order to CPF. The AIS generated email will include notice to comply with the Federal Tax Identification Number disclosure and notice to comply with the pro bono and IOLTA reporting requirements.
    • August 31 – Deadline for submitting a notarized Affidavit of Inactive/Retired Status for the current fiscal year.
    • September 10 – Final day to pay the annual assessment without incurring a late fee. Pro Bono and IOLTA reports are also due by this date. The payment portal in AIS will be closed at 11:59 PM on this date and remain closed until a late fee of $25 is assessed on all delinquent accounts.
    • January 10 – Final day to pay the annual assessment without incurring a second late fee. The payment portal in AIS will be closed at 11:59 PM on this date and remain closed until a late fee of $50 is assessed on all delinquent accounts.
    • February 10 – Pursuant to Rule 19-606, 19-409 and 19-503, as soon as practicable after February 10 each year, AOC shall electronically send a Notice of Default to each attorney who has failed to pay the CPF assessment in full, including late fees and charges for dishonored checks, and/or failed to provide their federal tax identification number or statement that there is no such number to the Fund, and/or has not filed the required IOLTA Compliance Report, and/or has not filed the required Pro Bono Legal Service Report.
    • March 10 – As soon as practicable after February 10, but no later than March 10 each year the Supreme Court of Maryland will receive a proposed Temporary Suspension Order and Decertification Order stating the names and Fund account number of those attorneys who failed cure the default stated in the Notice of Default.

PAYMENTS: Payment of the Assessment may be made by credit or bank card through AIS, or by check or money order, mailed or hand delivered, to the Fund. Payments are not accepted via telephone.

CHANGE OF CONTACT INFORMATION: Rule 19-802(d) states, “Attorneys shall update their AIS account within 30 days of becoming aware of a change in the information. AIS and constituent agencies have the right to rely on the latest information in AIS for billing and disciplinary purposes and for other correspondence or communication.”

MDEC: Changing your address in AIS or through CPF does not update your information in MDEC. AIS and MDEC are independent of one another. More information regarding MDEC, their policies and procedures, and their change of address form may be found here:

QUESTIONS: If you have questions concerning these dates, your status, or need assistance registering for AIS, please contact the Fund at 410-630-8140.

Rule 19-503 was amended in December 2018 to require Maryland lawyers to register with the Attorney Information System (AIS), and to permit the creation of a single compliance schedule so that reporting is done on a fiscal basis.  Attorneys will receive an email notification once per year, in July, advising that the Client Protection Fund assessments, Tax ID updates, and Pro Bono and IOLTA reports are all due September 10 of each year.

All attorneys authorized to practice law in Maryland must file an annual Pro Bono Legal Service Report of their pro bono services hours by September 10 each year, even if they did not provide pro bono services.  They must also file an annual Interest on Lawyer Trust Account report (IOLTA) by September 10 each year, even if they do not have an IOLTA account.

All attorneys are now required to file online.  For instructions on how to file Pro Bono and IOLTA reports, please visit the judiciary’s website at   At this site, attorneys can also retrieve their personal ID numbers, find a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the reporting process, and find a copy of the pro bono rules.  Please email any questions or comments to

We encourage all attorneys to set up recurring calendar appointments with pop-up reminders for July 10 of every year with the site noted therein; that will allow two months for compliance by the September 10 deadline.  Please note that the Courts will not mail notices or forms for reporting.  ALL communications regarding Pro Bono reporting and IOLTA compliance will be sent from the Courts via email, according to the amended Rule 19-503.  If an attorney does not file, the Court will issue an order to decertify the attorney, prohibiting him/her from practicing.  There is a $50 fee for recertification (in addition to filing the missing reports).