General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division

A service of the ABA General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division


American Bar Association - Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice

may 2008

Committee Highlight

            The GP|Solo Public Service Committee is the Division’s opportunity to serve the public via educational efforts as well as the delivery of legal services to low and moderate income people.  The committee works with the incoming Chair of the GP|Solo Division to develop and implement a public service theme or program with one or more projects to be done at the Fall Meeting and the Spring Meeting. The committee chair is responsible for contacting a member who is local to the city where the meeting is to be held and to coordinate the arrangements for the project.

            The committee’s purpose is to improve the perceptions and relationships between lawyers and the public by providing a way for members to give back to the community by presenting projects that serve to increase (1) the role of attorneys in society; (2) the awareness on how the legal system works; and (3) the tolerance of diversity within society. The committee’s main challenge is keeping the Division membership informed of the public education opportunities as well as development of legal services programs for the poor and working poor to enhance pro bono participation by members of the Division.

            Chaired by Bruce Hopson for the past few years, the Public Service committee has sponsored projects such as the Tolerance Through Education initiative “Welcome to School: Helping Kids Belong” This program is designed for lawyers to help strengthen the diversity that makes our democratic society thrive by promoting respect among children for those who look different, act different or share different beliefs.  The “We the Jury” project which educates high school students regarding jury service, one of the most valuable civic duties in which they can participate.

            The Spring 2008 Solo Newsletter is dedicated to the works of pro bono and public service.  Some featured articles include Pro Bono Mythbusters by Stephanie McLaughlin and Monte Mollere, Public Service: Why not President? By Chuck Driebe, The Purist: Helping the Poor by Joan Burda, Pro Bono: Why We Do What We Do by Marta-Ann Schnabel, Help Wanted:  Engineers of Social Change by Artika Tyner and a Division survey on Pro Bono members by Melanie Kushnir.  Please go to to view these articles.

            An upcoming project is a committee Web page to be hosted on the Division’s Web site.  The Web page will have articles and information on pro bono and public service.  It will also have opportunities for solo and small firm practitioners to become involved.  Jennifer Ator is spearheading this project. 

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