Launching Court-Based Pro Bono Clinics, Including Ethics Tips

Level: Intermediate
Runtime: 91 minutes
Recorded Date: September 02, 2021
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  • Conflicts of interest and clinic structures
  • Scope of representation
  • Judicial code considerations for court-based clinics & ethical constraints
  • Ensuring Sustainable, manageable court-based pro bono clinic operations
  • Conclusion
Runtime: 1 hour, 31 minutes
Recorded: September 2, 2021

Difficulty: Experienced Attorneys (Non-Transitional)


Judges and lawyers who want to create a court affiliated pro bono clinic will need to know how to ensure the clinic meets all the legal and ethical requirements.

This program was recorded on September 2nd, 2021.

Provided By

American Bar Association


Michael Bergmann

Executive Director
Public Interest Law Initiative

Serving as Executive Director of the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) since 2010, Michael provides the strategic oversight and direction for PILI's work to engage, inspire and empower those advancing equal access to justice. Under his leadership over the last decade, PILI has significantly expanded its reach and impact by building on its nearly 45 year legacy and becoming a statewide organization. Michael has overseen the growth of PILI's Law Student Internship Program, both in terms of the number of Interns funded and in the amount of the stipend provided to Interns. He has led PILI’s efforts in the development of innovative pro bono committees at the judicial circuit level across Illinois and the expansion of PILI into providing direct services through a statewide network of pro bono volunteers. During his tenure, PILI has also seen a significant increase in the financial support PILI receives across all funding sources.

Michael is a frequent speaker on issues relating to legal aid, pro bono, public interest law and nonprofit management including the Illinois Legal Advocates Conference, the ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference, the ABA Young Lawyers Division, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association Annual Conference, the Equal Justice Works Conference & Career Fair, the NALP Annual Education Conference and the National Pro Bono Conference of Canada.

Michael serves on the Dean’s Council for the DePaul University College of Law, where he has also taught as an Adjunct Professor. He also serves on the Advisory Board for the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management at North Park University. Michael also serves on the Advisory Board of the Chicago Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society.

An active member of the American Bar Association (ABA), Michael is currently serving in the ABA’s House of Delegates and on the Standing Committee on Membership. He is a past chair of the following ABA entities: the Section Officers Conference (SOC), the Judicial Division, the Lawyers Conference of the Judicial Division and the Young Lawyers Division. Michael is also a member of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) where he serves on and is a past chair of the Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, and serves on the Bench & Bar Section Council and the ISBA Assembly. He is also a member of the Chicago Bar Association.

Frequently recognized for his contributions to the bar and the public, Michael was named one of “40 Under 40 Illinois Attorneys to Watch” in 2013 by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company.

R. Scott Wylie

Executive Director
Pro Bono Indiana

An attorney by training, Wylie is a nationally-recognized expert on nonprofit governance issues, charitable giving and attorney pro bono efforts. Prior to joining the Foundation, he was a plan administrator with the Volunteer Lawyer Program of Southwestern Indiana and the family court coordinator for the Vanderburgh County Courts.

Wylie provides legal counsel and serves on several local non-profit boards, including the Lampion Center and the USI/Historic New Harmony Foundation. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in law from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Bryan Dearinger

Associate General Counsel
University of Oregon

Bryan Dearinger joined the UO in September 2014. Prior to his arrival, he worked exclusively in federal courts for nearly ten years. This included serving as a trial attorney in the civil division at the US Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., where he represented the United States, the President of the United States, federal agencies, and government officials in affirmative and defensive civil litigation, including constitutional litigation, Administrative Procedure Act litigation, civil rights cases, national security litigation, privacy litigation, Freedom of Information Act cases, and the enforcement of various federal statutory and regulatory schemes. In addition, before entering the Department of Justice through the Attorney General’s Honors Program, Bryan served for three years as a federal judicial law clerk for judges in US district courts in Seattle, Washington, and Cheyenne, Wyoming. Prior to that, Bryan worked for Legal Aid Services of Oregon in Portland, Oregon.

Bryan holds a BA from the University of Portland and a JD from Drake University, where he was Order of the Coif, the Edwin Earle Ferguson Public Service Scholar, and Editor in Chief of the Drake Law Review. Bryan has litigated in over a dozen federal courts across the country and has also authored articles published in the Oregon Law Review and the St. John’s Law Review. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Oregon School of Law.

Bryan serves as a board member for the Oregon Federal Bar Association (FBA) and helps run the FBA's Free Federal Law Clinic as one of two volunteer Attorney Ambassadors. The clinic serves persons without financial or legal resources, primarily assisting unrepresented (pro se) litigants with civil matters filed in federal court in Oregon.

In December 2018, the federal district judges in Oregon selected Bryan as a Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representative for the District of Oregon (2019 - 2022 term). Lawyer representatives are chosen by federal judges in each of the Ninth Circuit’s fifteen districts. In this role, Bryan works closely with federal judges and the federal bar to improve the administration of justice in the Circuit. In April 2020, Bryan was selected by Chief Judge Marco Hernandez to serve as Co-Chair of the Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representatives for the 2020-2021 term.

Hon. Jolie A. Russo

Magistrate Judge
U.S. District Court - District of Oregon

Jolie A. Russo is a federal magistrate judge of the United States District Court for the District of Oregon. She was appointed to this position on February 25, 2016, upon the retirement of Magistrate Thomas Coffin. Her current term will expire on February 24, 2024.

Prior to her appointment as a magistrate judge, Russo served as a staff attorney and, later, as senior staff attorney for the District of Oregon from 1988 to 2016. Since 2004, she had also been an adjunct faculty member for both the University of Oregon School of Law and Lewis and Clark Law School. Russo served for 10 years as a chairwoman on the Citizen Review Board Panel for the Oregon Supreme Court.

Russo earned her J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School in 1998.

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