Billing for Pro Bono: Managing Charitable Legal Services with Software

Pro bono work plays a role in the profession, enabling attorneys to give back to their communities and support those who cannot afford legal services. However, handling the billing side of pro bono cases can be challenging. It requires lawyers to track their time and expenses while ensuring that they don’t unintentionally bill clients for the services provided on a pro bono basis.

Fortunately, there are law practice legal billing software that can streamline the management of legal services and ensure precise billing practices. This blog post will explore how leveraging software can benefit law firms involved in pro bono work.

What are Pro Bono Cases?

Pro bono cases refer to legal cases in which lawyers or legal professionals provide their services free or at a significantly reduced fee to individuals or organizations in need who cannot afford standard legal representation. The term “pro bono” is derived from the Latin phrase “pro bono publico,” which means “for the public good.” Pro bono work allows legal professionals to contribute to their communities and support access to justice for those with limited financial means.

Pro bono cases can cover various legal issues, including civil rights, family law, immigration, criminal defense, housing disputes, etc. Lawyers may take on pro bono cases individually or as part of a more significant effort by law firms or legal organizations to provide legal assistance to underserved populations.

Efficiently Tracking Pro Bono Cases

One of the hurdles in managing pro bono cases is effectively keeping track of the time and expenses associated with matters. Traditional timekeeping methods lack built-in mechanisms to differentiate between nonbillable hours.

However, specialized software explicitly designed for pro bono management has features that simplify this process. These tools enable lawyers to create case files dedicated solely to pro bono matters. This ensures that all time spent working on these cases is appropriately categorized and excluded from billings sent to paying clients.

Automated Time Tracking

Undoubtedly, automated processes are benefitting businesses in folds. Tracking time manually is prone to errors and inconsistencies. Lawyers might forget to record their hours or input them into the system when the details are unclear. These mistakes can lead to sending out invoices or missing out on reimbursement opportunities from grant programs or donors supporting initiatives.

To address these issues, software designed to manage pro bono work offers automated time-tracking capabilities. These tools electronically capture every minute spent on client matters, minimizing error and ensuring accuracy when it’s time to invoice clients or apply for reimbursement grants.

Expense Management

In addition to tracking time, lawyers also require solutions for managing expenses related to pro bono work. For instance, they may need to purchase research materials to cover court filing fees or handle travel expenses associated with representing clients.

Pro bono billing software often includes features that allow lawyers to record and categorize these expenses efficiently. They can enter the details of each cost incurred, attach receipts or invoices, and assign them easily to pro bono cases. This simplifies generating expense reports for reimbursement purposes and providing documentation for grant programs.

Reporting and Analytics

When engaged in pro bono work, law firms may want to monitor their firm efforts across charitable initiatives.

They might also have to create reports and analyze their pro bono caseloads for analysis or external reporting obligations.

Software designed for managing services usually comes with comprehensive reporting features. Users can generate reports based on parameters, such as time spent per type of case hours contributed by attorneys or the demographics of clients served. These insights allow law firms to monitor their impact and make decisions about allocating resources supporting pro bono work.

Ethical Considerations

Lastly, using software for managing pro bono services helps lawyers fulfill their responsibilities. Legal professionals can maintain transparency with clients regarding billing procedures by ensuring accurate tracking and billing practices specially tailored for pro bono matters.

Lawyers must establish boundaries between client work and charitable service provision by utilizing appropriate software solutions. Proper management does not build trust between practitioners and clients. It also serves as a reminder of the professional duty towards those less fortunate who require access to justice.


Managing charitable legal services can be intricate due to the billing considerations associated with pro bono work. Employing software designed explicitly for this purpose assists lawyers in monitoring the time devoted to these cases while maintaining separation from billable client work.

Automated time tracking, features for managing expenses, and comprehensive reporting capabilities enable lawyers to handle their firms’ pro bono efforts effectively. Moreover, these tools assist professionals in upholding their responsibilities by ensuring transparency with clients and the broader community.