New Jersey Pro Bono Information

Pro Bono Cases

In Madden v. Delran, 126 N.J. 591 (1992), the Supreme Court reaffirmed the bar’s duty to represent indigent defendants without pay where the Legislature has made no provision for the Public Defender to represent defendants who are entitled to counsel. Attorneys are assigned pro bono cases through the Administrative Office of the Court’s pro bono computer system, which maintains an alphabetical list of attorneys eligible for pro bono assignment for each county.

This page provides training resources for attorneys who have been appointed to handle pro bono/Madden cases, as well as a listing of various certified organizations that provide free legal services or advocacy.

Other pro bono service

Attorneys who certify that they have performed at least 25 hours of voluntary qualifying pro bono service in New Jersey are exempt from being appointed to take a Madden v. Delran pro bono case for the following year. Rule 1:21-12. Organizations which provide qualifying service are listed in the Pro Bono Organizations Portal, below.

Retired Attorneys

Retired attorneys who had a plenary New Jersey bar admission are permitted to provide pro bono legal services through authorized legal services organizations. In particular, a retired attorney who certifies to the Supreme Court that the only aspect of the attorney’s participation in legal practice is by providing qualifying pro bono service as defined by Rule 1:21-11 (a) for Legal Services of New Jersey and the associated legal regional programs, for a certified organization under Rule 1:21-11 (b), or for an organization otherwise approved by the Supreme Court, may do so pursuant to those rules.
See the Dec. 10, 2020 Notice to the Bar for details.


Attorneys may receive an exemption from Madden assignments by providing at least 25 hours of services in court-appointed adult guardianship matters. See the March 4, 2021 Notice to the bar and appended March 1, 2021 Supreme Court order for details. Attorneys seeking this exemption must submit a certification using the posted certification form. Attorneys may also receive an exemption by providing at least 25 volunteer pro bono hours of service in certain landlord tenant matters. See the October 20, 2020 Notice to the bar and appended Supreme Court order for details. Attorneys seeking this exemption must submit a certification form. All certification forms can be filed electronically and submitted via email to Probono.Mailbox@NJCourts.Gov.
In addition to the performance of 25 hours of certified pro bono service for a qualifying organization, attorneys may be exempt from taking Madden v. Delran cases for other reasons, such as retirement. 2022 Exemptions from Pro Bono Counsel Assignment.

For organizations that are certified or seek to be certified

Certified pro bono service providers can be found in the Pro Bono Organizations portal link below. Pro bono organizations seeking to become certified must submit an application. Certification applications may be submitted at any time during the year. Rule 1:21-11. These applications may be made by entering information into the pro bono resource portal, then printing and mailing in the completed form to Pro Bono Organizations, PO Box 037, Trenton, NJ 08625-0037.

Required annual recertification

Beginning January 1, 2016, existing certified pro bono organizations must file an annual recertification by April 30th. Rule 1:21-11. The online annual recertification form (in fillable format) is posted on the Judiciary's Pro Bono Organization portal; click here to access that form. You may also want to review the December 14, 2015 and February 9, 2016 notices to the bar for details regarding the recertification process.

Pro Bono Organizations Portal

The pro bono resource portal below provides information about approved pro bono organizations, law school clinics, and government programs. It also provides an opportunity for entities seeking to be certified to apply for approval. Additionally, those approved entities can also complete the annual recertification starting February 1, 2016. The searchable listings include:
  • approved organizations for New Jersey and out-of-state attorneys who seek to perform pro bono work;
  • approved law school clinic programs and government organizations for law students or law school graduates to appear in court or with an agency;
  • organizations which qualify for fee waiver status
Any questions regarding the use of the resource portal, the information contained in it, or for an update on the status of a certification application can be directed to

Information about Attorney Annual Registration and Payment

The Supreme Court requires every member of the bar to annually register, update personal information, and pay the applicable fees, provide pro bono information, and certify compliance with mandatory continuing legal education. Beginning in 2016, attorneys must register online -- this allows completion of the above obligations in one convenient location.

Training Information for Attorneys Receiving Pro Bono Assignments

"Attorneys who do not practice in these areas maybe concerned about performing properly when they receive a pro bono assignment. This is an understandable concern and the judiciary has provided resources to assist you with your pro bono case."
- Glenn A. Grant
Administrative Director of the Courts

These materials are updated periodically. Attorneys assigned pro bono cases are expected to conduct their own research on relevant issues and the most current case law.

For additional questions please email