The types of non-profit entities with the potential to qualify for support by the firms in the Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy initiative include:
- Nonprofit organizations directly serving the needs of marginalized, disenfranchised, or disadvantaged groups in a way that advances a sustainable economy (e.g., a nonprofit developing community solar projects to bring clean energy to residents of public housing);
- Nonprofit organizations directly securing or protecting civil rights, civil liberties, or public rights, which include environmental and public health matters (e.g., a nonprofit advocating for increased public investment in energy efficiency as a way to improve the environment or public health); or
- Other nonprofits involved in grantmaking or education efforts related to advancement of a more sustainable economy.
Tribal Entities and other Governmental Entities
Tribal entities, other governmental entities, and community organizations have the potential to qualify for pro bono support by the firms in the Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy Initiative where the payment of standard legal fees would significantly deplete the organization’s economic resources or would be otherwise inappropriate and:
- The matter is designed primarily to serve the needs of marginalized, disenfranchised, or disadvantaged groups in a way that advances a sustainable economy; or
- The matter would assist the organization in protecting public rights or environmental rights, which include environmental and public health matters.
For-profit entities may qualify for pro bono services by the firms in the Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy initiative if they are either:
- Newly-formed for-profit entities focused on advancing a sustainably economy and begun by low-income entrepreneurs who, as individuals, may be income-eligible for pro bono legal services; or
- Mission-aligned for-profit entities that are formed and operate primarily to advance a sustainable economy and, where
- The business venture has as its primary mission and purpose the enhancement of the economic, health, or social condition of low-income and disadvantaged people and groups or of the environment;
- The revenues from the business venture, if any, are used directly to support this mission;
- The business venture does not have sufficient operating funds to pay for legal and other professional services without sacrificing its mission; and
- The pro bono relationship is time-limited, to last only until the business can pay for counsel without sacrificing its mission.
Entities may be based in the United States or abroad.
To qualify as income-eligible for pro bono legal services, household income cannot exceed 500% of the federal poverty guidelines, and the applicant’s household must have less than $50,000 in eligible liquid assets. (500% of federal poverty guidelines is $72,900 for a one-person household, $98,600 for a two-person household, and $150,000 for a four-person household). Eligible assets do not include the value of a primary residence, retirement income, or anything else that would have a penalty if the applicant were to withdraw funds.
A for-profit entity could alternatively qualify for pro bono services as a mission-aligned for profit under the criteria above. If the business venture is profitable, it must qualify as a social enterprise. This means that the entity must have publicly stated its sustainability/social mission (either on its website, in its incorporation documents, or in its annual report) and that it reinvests at least half of its profits back into that mission (i.e. back into the company as opposed to distributing to shareholders).
Each firm will independently determine if a potential client fits within their firm’s pro bono policy.
Types of Legal Services
By submitting the intake form you are not entering into an attorney-client relationship with Stanford University or any of the firms in the Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy Initiative, nor are you guaranteed to receive legal services.
Stanford Law School will review the information provided on the form below and conduct a follow-up client intake interview via telephone. If eligible, SLS will provide your project description and request to the firms in the Initiative to help connect you with a firm.
Note: Commitments made by firms participating in Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy represent voluntary value-of-services goals; each commitment will be implemented in a manner consistent with each firm’s own pro bono and conflicts rules and policies as well as each firm’s own assessment of any relevant regulations. Stanford University will not provide legal services or representation.
Please use the Intake Form below as the first step to determine eligibility to receive free legal services from these firms. Do not submit any confidential information in this form, by email, or otherwise. You will only become a client upon entering into an engagement agreement with one of the participating law firms, after which confidential information may be exchanged with that firm.
If you have questions, please contact email@example.com.