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Lawyers provide free legal services during National Pro Bono Celebration

Lawyers provide free legal services during National Pro Bono Celebration

By John Glynn

Lawyers will join forces in volunteering their legal services for thousands of low-income Americans during the annual National Pro Bono Celebration Oct. 20-26, sponsored by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service.

Law firms, bar associations, courts, law schools, corporations, legal aid providers and other groups in nearly every state are sponsoring more than 800 free legal clinics and other pro bono events during the week of the National Pro Bono Celebration and throughout October. The celebration website, celebrateprobono.org, provides a state-by-state list of activities.

Typically, about 70 percent of National Pro Bono Celebration events involve volunteer training or direct legal service in areas such as housing, veterans' assistance and immigration. Fundraisers, award ceremonies and other activities underscore the need for and contributions of lawyers who provide free service for clients in poverty.

“The National Pro Bono Celebration is a coordinated effort to meet the ever-growing needs of America’s most vulnerable citizens,” ABA President James R. Silkenat said. “The legal profession is proud to showcase the great difference pro bono lawyers make to the clients they serve and to our communities. I urge all lawyers to participate in this year’s celebration by volunteering their services and providing greater access to justice for all.”

The celebration website encourages maximum participation and provides resources to assist event planners, including organizing tips, “clinics in a box,” marketing templates and more. The site also hosts a Celebration Store where participants can purchase gift and giveaway items and features JUST Stories, a collection of powerful two-minute advocacy stories from pro bono lawyers.

The ABA supports pro bono work through a variety of means, including Model Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1, which encourages lawyers to provide at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services per year.

The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, sponsor of the National Pro Bono Celebration, provides national leadership in policy, outreach, implementation and technical assistance activities designed to encourage, expand and improve pro bono activities and programs.

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