: being, involving, or doing professional and especially legal work donated especially for the public good
pro bono work
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 This part of the Eastern Shore has no pro bono immigration lawyers, few nonprofits and no Spanish-speaking community organizations beyond churches. Hannah Dreier Meridith Kohut, New York Times, 18 Sep. 2023 David has offered his attorney services pro bono to defend Fearless Fund, which is an example of the kind of support that the Council for Economic Opportunity & Social Justice will offer to companies under attack by anti-woke activists. Lila MacLellan, Fortune, 13 Sep. 2023 There are thousands of lawyers in the United States who work pro bono to represent kids in court. Stephania Taladrid, The New Yorker, 11 Sep. 2023 Block, alongside other volunteers, has been offering pro bono work to help immigrants who have lost the documents required to work, travel and receive assistance. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 25 Aug. 2023 In addition to work and home, Donya also makes regular visits to Dr. Anthony (Gregg Turkington), a psychiatrist who offers pro bono counseling to refugees. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 12 Sep. 2023 The Boston law firm Foley Hoag LLP is representing Murrell pro bono. Laura Crimaldi, BostonGlobe.com, 8 Aug. 2023 Until then, the 13 startups will invest over 1,700 hours in the program through mentoring, content delivery and pro bono project engagement. Terry Wagner, Dallas News, 5 June 2023 Through the Artificial Inventor Project, Abbott represents Thaler directly in some jurisdictions and manages litigation in others, all pro bono. Will Bedingfield, WIRED, 31 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pro bono.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin pro bono publico for the public good

First Known Use

1966, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pro bono was in 1966

Dictionary Entries Near pro bono

Cite this Entry

“Pro bono.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pro%20bono. Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Legal Definition

pro bono

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

Latin pro bono publico for the public good

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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