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Pro Bono Program (District Court Fund)

Pro Bono Requirement

Local Rule 83.1(f) contains a pro bono service obligation for attorneys admitted to practice in the Western District of New York as stated below:

Every Member of the bar of this Court who maintains, or whose firm maintains, an office in this District, shall be available upon the Court’s request for appointment to represent or assist in the representation of indigent parties. Appointments under this Rule shall be made in a manner such that no Member shall be requested to accept more than one appointment during any twelve month period.


The Court has a serious need for attorneys to represent pro se plaintiffs, on a pro bono basis, primarily in civil rights actions.  Attorneys may request a pro bono appointment by contacting the Court’s Pro Se Office by telephone at (716) 551-1700 (Buffalo Division) or (585) 613-4000 (Rochester Division).


It is the policy of this Court to encourage members of the bar to represent parties who are unable to afford counsel.  In furtherance of this policy, the Court has adopted certain guidelines governing the reimbursement of expenses of court-appointed counsel.

When an attorney has been appointed to represent an indigent party in a civil matter, that attorney may petition the Court for reimbursement of certain expenses.  These expenses, which are defined in the Guidelines, must be incurred in the preparation and presentation of the case before this Court.  Funding for this reimbursement program shall be obtained from this Court’s "District Court Fund" and the total limit allowable per client represented, absent extraordinary circumstances, can also be found in the Guidelines.

For more information, please contact:

District Court Clerk's Office,
Finance & Accounting Department   (716-551-1730)



District Court Fund Plan (amended 05/2014)
District Court Fund Guidelines (amended 01/2016)
District Court Fund Reimbursement Voucher (amended 02/2020)

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