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Southern District Seeks Applications for Pro Bono Panel

In August 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California adopted a Plan for the Representation of Pro Se Litigants in Civil Cases pursuant to General Order 596. In partnership with the San Diego Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, the Court and representatives from the local bar formed a panel of law firms and attorneys qualified and willing to accept pro bono appointment in cases which the Court has determined appropriate for such representation.

Pursuant to the Pro Bono Plan as adopted by General Order 596, the Court is once again soliciting applications for new law firms and attorneys to serve on the Panel. Law firms and attorneys currently serving on the Panel will remain on the Panel and need not reapply.

Appointments of counsel from this Panel are made pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. and 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1), and not pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act. Counsel from the Pro Bono Panel have and will be called upon to represent indigent plaintiffs asserting civil rights claims in the Southern District, most of whom are prisoners. Appointments may be made at the early stages of litigation, but are typically deferred until after summary judgment has been denied and a trial is anticipated.

Necessary out-of-pocket expenses incurred by Pro Bono Panel appointees will be reimbursed, upon properly supported request, out of the Court’s Pro Bono Fund as provided in S.D. Cal. CivLR 83.8(a)(2). In addition, prevailing civil rights plaintiffs may seek an award of attorneys’ fees under federal law.

The procedures for selection of law firms and attorneys to serve on the Panel, as well as applications to become a member of the Panel, can be found on the Court’s website at

Questions should be directed to Pro Bono Administrator Karen Beretsky at (619) 557-5693 or


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