The Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington is active and successful because federal judges and practitioners have dedicated substantial amounts of time to furthering its mission. Becoming active in the FBA-WDWA is a wonderful way for practitioners to interact with and learn from other lawyers in the Western District, and to make a positive contribution to our legal community and to the administration of justice.

Pro Bono Panel

What Does the Panel Do?
Pro se plaintiffs often apply for the appointment of counsel. The Pro Bono Panel has been established to provide counsel, when merited, to individuals who do not have the means to obtain counsel on their own. A screening committee of lawyers reviews the allegations in each case in which a plaintiff applies for counsel, and makes a recommendation to the court. The court makes a final determination, appointing counsel from the panel in those cases where the claims appear to have merit and prosecution of the claims would be enhanced by counsel’s participation.

Panel participation offers a unique opportunity to gain experience in civil litigation in federal court while providing a valuable community service. The court has funds available to defray some litigation expenses, and the King County Bar Association offers malpractice coverage to panel attorneys who are not otherwise insured.

Join the Panel
Please complete a Pro Bono Panel application form if you would like to join the Pro Bono Panel. The Pro Bono Committee will review your qualifications and notify you if you are selected for the panel. The court will send out a case summary and the relevant pleadings to the panel as cases become available. If interested in a case, panel members are encouraged to volunteer as soon as possible. Assuming you have no conflicts, an order appointing you as counsel will issue. If you are asked to take a case in an unfamiliar area of law, the Pro Bono Committee will help find an attorney to serve as a mentor or sounding board. The Pro Bono Panel offers a wonderful opportunity to litigate in federal court and to serve the community. Contact the Pro Bono Committee if you have questions.

The U.S. District Court’s plan for the representation of pro se litigants and rules pertaining to such representation can be found on the court’s website, or you may request a copy by contacting Emily Nero at (206) 370-8482 or After reviewing the plan and rules, please submit your application form. Please contact Emily Nero if you would prefer to mail a hard copy of the application to her.

Federal Civil Rights Clinic

The Federal Civil Rights Clinics provide limited legal representation together with self-help materials to underserved populations navigating the federal court systems. The Legal Clinics are now located in the United States District Courts in both Seattle and Tacoma. The Seattle Clinic is open the first four Thursdays of each month and the Tacoma Clinic is open the first Thursday of each month.  For more information, click here.

For information about volunteering in either Legal Clinic, please contact:

Tracy Morris
Federal Civil Rights Clinic
Executive Director