LACBA Update Back Issues - July 2015

Second Appellate District Pro Bono Program Expands to Provide Briefing, Oral Argument in Selected Cases

Program operated by LACBA Appellate Courts Section in partnership with Public Counsel

Since 2007, LACBA’s Appellate Courts Section has partnered with Public Counsel to operate an appellate pro bono program in the Second Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal, when past LACBA President, Justice Laurie Zelon, made the request of the then-Appellate Courts Committee. The original program provides a walk-in self-help clinic at the Court of Appeal in Los Angeles for unrepresented civil litigants with cases on appeal, plus screening of the appeals for merit and eligibility for placement with pro bono counsel.

Recently, Justice Zelon and the Court's Liaison Committee asked the Section and Public Counsel to expand the program so that certain cases the justices feel require better briefing, or the submission of amicus briefs, can be assigned to pro bono counsel for these purposes. The program is modeled on a similar one operating in the Ninth Circuit.

While the original appellate pro bono program has been very successful, it served only the self-represented litigants who came to the self-help clinic. Many other self-represented litigants who pursue appeals in the Second Appellate District do not receive the program’s services. 

In late May, the LACBA Board of Trustees unanimously voted to approve the Appellate Courts Section working with Public Counsel to provide the expanded services.