The DCBA Pro Bono Trust Fund was established by the Dane County Bar Association in 1992 to fund civil legal services for low-income persons in
our community.

The Fund makes grants to non-profit organizations that provide legal services to persons most in need in Dane County. These grants are made possible entirely by contributions from the community.

The Pro Bono Trust Fund is a recognized 501(c)(3) organization and contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. We appreciate your support for this important work.

Click Here to Donate Now

Community’s Need for Legal Services

Many low-income persons in our community lack basic legal representation.
Pro bono legal advocacy can help with:

  • health care
  • housing
  • employment or public benefits
  • consumer matters
  • domestic disputes
  • child custody cases

Some Dane County organizations 
the PBTF has supported:

  • AIDS Network
  • ABC For Health
  • Community Justice Inc.
  • Unemployment Compensation 
    Appeals Clinic Inc.
  • Disability Rights Wisconsin
  • Neighborhood Law Project
  • Divorce Court Assistance Project
  • Tenant Resource Center
  • Domestic Abuse Intervention Services
  • UW Law School - Economic Justice Institute


The generous support from the Pro-Bono Trust Fund funded legal internships at ABC for Health that not only helped us to serve our clients but also helped sensitize future lawyers to the legal needs of low income people in Dane County. This quote from a client’s letter expresses how we help: “We are so thankful we were able to find Bobby Peterson and his group of interns at ABC for Health in Madison. ABC was able to, in a very efficient way, recoup [from the insurance company] a good portion of our out of pocket dollars.”

- Public Interest Attorney ABC for Health Inc.


After losing work and seeking unemployment benefits, individuals look to the Unemployment Compensation Appeals Clinic in Madison for help in getting a fair hearing and presenting their case. Law students and volunteer attorneys meet with these folks and provide guidance and representation regarding the issues at stake in their cases. If not for the generous financial support of the DCBA Pro Bono Trust Fund, this volunteer work would simply not be possible.

- Unemployment Compensation Appeals Clinic, Inc.


“The services [CJI] devoted to our case provided us with the family unity we have been seeking through adoption. We felt like we were treated as a family. Another lawyer would have been beyond our …budget” and “Thank you for all your help during a very difficult time in my life. You made the process easier even though divorce is hard regardless of the situation.”

- Quotes from clients of Community Justice, Inc.

Grants to Support Legal Services

The Pro Bono Trust Fund, a project of the Dane County Bar Association, provides essential support to non-profit organizations that provide civil legal services for persons who fall below 300% of the federal poverty rate. Its grants go directly to pay the cost of legal services as well as the cost of equipment and materials needed by non-profit organizations to operate effectively and leverage other volunteer or low-cost resources.

Lawyers Have an Obligation to Help

All lawyers are ethically obligated to provide public interest legal services. The Rules of Professional Conduct specify that this responsibility may be discharged by providing free or reduced fee services to persons of limited means, or by financial support for organizations that provide legal services to low-income persons. SCR 20:6:1

Trustees (2012-2013)

  • Melissa Auchard Scholz, Chair - Scholz Nonprofit Law LLC
     
  • John Lubarsky - Asst. State Public Defender
     
  • Chela B. O’Connor - Dane County
     
  • William Ramsey - Wisconsin Office of State Employment Relations
     
  • Michael Steckelis - Michael Steckelis Law Office
     
  • Dustin Brown - Godfrey & Kahn, SC
     
  • Mitchell Hagopian - Disability Rights Wisconsin

Supporting Basic Legal Services to People in Need

To make a financial contribution to help provide legal services to 
low-income residents of Dane County.

Please make your check payable to the DCBA Pro Bono Trust Fund 
and mail to:

DCBA Pro Bono Trust Fund
2935 S. Fish Hatchery Road, #181
Madison, WI 53711

or donate online: 

Click Here to Donate Now

Contributions are tax deductible.

Download a printable pdf of this information