Pro Bono Program

The Court’s pro bono program has been suspended for *civil* cases while the Court works to improve the processes in place to assist litigants in need of counsel. Civil cases are non-criminal matters, including domestic relations cases, paternity and custody matters in juvenile court, probate court cases, and civil cases in municipal and common pleas court. Please check back for updates in the future. Applications will still be accepted for criminal cases, including post-conviction cases.
The First District Court of Appeals offers a pro bono program that connects some litigants who do not have legal counsel with local attorneys who are willing to provide certain legal services for free. (“Pro bono” is Latin and means “for the public good.”)
The program is designed to help litigants who cannot afford to hire his or her own attorney.

Would You Like Free Legal Assistance?

If you do not currently have an attorney and would like to be considered for the program, please complete the Litigant Application below. The Court will refer applications to the Ohio Justice and Policy Center (for criminal cases).

The organization will review the case to determine if it is a good fit for pro bono counsel.  The First District is grateful for the OJPC’s commitment to the program.

Not everyone who applies for pro bono counsel will receive it. The determination is based on several factors including attorney availability. Until an attorney agrees to enter a notice of appearance on your behalf, you are responsible for meeting all court deadlines.

Applicants will typically receive a notice within two to four weeks about whether they have been accepted into the program. The notice will come from the organization providing the free legal assistance.

If selected for the program, the pro bono counsel will offer limited scope services including writing briefs and arguing before the three-judge panel. However, the litigant is still responsible for paying the cost for copying transcripts from the lower court.

Are You an Attorney Who Wants to Volunteer?

Attorneys who are willing to serve as pro bono counsel should complete the Attorney Application below.

Seasoned attorneys who want to serve as a mentor to pro bono counsel should complete the Mentor Application below.

Links to Applications