pro bono

\ ˌprō-ˈbō-(ˌ)nō How to pronounce pro bono (audio) \

Definition of pro bono

: being, involving, or doing professional and especially legal work donated especially for the public good pro bono work

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Other Words from pro bono

pro bono adverb

Did You Know?

In Latin, pro bono publico means "for the public good;" in English we generally shorten the phrase to pro bono. Donating free legal help to those who need it has long been a practice of American law firms; the American Bar Association actually recommends that all lawyers donate 50 hours a year. Pro bono work is sometimes donated by nonlegal firms as well. For example, an advertising firm might produce a 60-second video for an environmental or educational organization, or a strategic-planning firm might prepare a start-up plan for a charity that funds shelters for battered women.

Examples of pro bono in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

And indeed, Kavanaugh would represent the 6-year-old González pro bono in an attempt to keep him from being deported to Cuba in 2000. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Brett Kavanaugh, the almost-certain next member of the Supreme Court, explained," 5 Oct. 2018 Greaves said that the only lawyer who would take his case pro bono was Randazza, a lawyer whose defense of free speech — no matter how repugnant the message — has led to him to defend a founder of the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "The Satanic Temple is divided over its leader’s decision to hire Alex Jones’s lawyer," 9 Aug. 2018 As part of Nancy's backstory, her dad is a pro bono legal aid lawyer, and her mom was a civil rights activist; Nancy herself is also concerned with equality and social issues, and stands up when her friends are bullied. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, ""IT" Star Sophia Lillis's Newest Role Is the Bold, Iconic Nancy Drew," 15 Mar. 2019 It was funded entirely by Young, with the pro bono help of a technology company that organizers wished not to name. Max Londberg, kansascity, "Black Privilege app launches in KC, aims to funnel money to black-owned biz | The Kansas City Star," 27 May 2018 No amount of protesting, tweeting, empathizing, donating, or pro bono work today is going to be as powerful as your vote. Jenny Hollander, Marie Claire, "Do I Have to Vote? Here Are Some of the Scary Things That Could Happen If You Don't," 6 Nov. 2018 As a result, Ms. Rashid has relied on pro bono attorneys helping immigrants at the detention center. Arian Campo-flores, WSJ, "Government Says It Has Reunited All Eligible Migrant Parents With Children," 27 July 2018 The law firm of Polsinelli is on board, offering three of its top litigators and additional staff pro bono. kansascity, "The U.S. government is in a hurry to deport Kansas chemist Syed Jamal | The Kansas City Star," 9 Mar. 2018 The companies advised the Ad Council and the New York office of McCann Worldgroup, which did creative work pro bono, on the campaign’s development. Jane L. Levere, The Seattle Times, "Role models at Microsoft, Google, GE tell girls that STEM’s for them in new campaign," 10 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pro bono.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pro bono

1966, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pro bono

Latin pro bono publico for the public good

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Statistics for pro bono

Last Updated

11 May 2019

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Time Traveler for pro bono

The first known use of pro bono was in 1966

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More Definitions for pro bono

pro bono


Financial Definition of pro bono

What It Is

Pro bono refers to any work or service that someone provides free of charge for the common good.

How It Works

From the Latin phrase "pro bono publico" meaning "for the public good," the motivation behind pro bono work is to benefit society as opposed to making money. Pro bono work often refers to legal services offered without taking a fee. In countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, it is recommended by professional law associations that legal practitioners volunteer a certain number of hours for pro bono service each year. Although pro bono work is most often associated with legal services, it has become common for members of other professions such as medicine and consulting, to extend themselves in a similar manner for the benefit of those less fortunate.

To illustrate the nature of pro bono work, suppose an attorney provides some legal service to low-income families in his community free of charge. The unpaid work done for these families would be considered to be pro bono work, because the attorney is providing his services solely for the benefit of the less fortunate in the community.

Why It Matters

The altruistic nature of pro bono work can be thought of as more important that the actual work. Attorneys, for instance who engage in pro bono work donate their time and expertise in order to help improve the lives of others in their community.

Source: Investing Answers

pro bono


English Language Learners Definition of pro bono

law : involving or doing legal work for free
\ ˌprō-ˈbō-nō\

Legal Definition of pro bono

: being, involving, or doing legal work donated especially for the public good

History and Etymology for pro bono

Latin pro bono publico for the public good

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