GPSolo Magazine - March 2004

Make Time to Volunteer

Welcome to the Best of ABA Sections issue of GPSolo. Once again, we have collected outstanding articles from across the ABA to provide you with concise, informative articles to enhance your practice. These articles were written by devoted volunteers to the profession. We are thankful for the time and effort that these authors have provided.

As attorneys in this country, we have the great fortune, and responsibility, I believe, to perform volunteer work. That is one of the reasons I became active with the Denver Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. The group provides free legal advice to elders, the homeless, and battered women, and it has huge parties and graduations for foster children to let them know that we, as a society, are proud of them and support them. These activities, among others, give local attorneys, not all YLDers, the opportunity to work in the community and to network with other attorneys. The YLD is also a great introduction to bar life for young and newer attorneys, and it provides a solid foundation for further bar activities. All of the people I knew from my days with the YLD have taken to heart the responsibility to be active in the community, and they continue to work on committees, community projects, and within state and local bar associations, and with the ABA.

There is great value in being a bar volunteer, both personally and professionally. I have come to know many attorneys that I truly admire for their professionalism and volunteerism. I am fortunate to know John Castellano, a partner at Holland and Hart in Denver, Colorado. He is selfless, understated, and humble, a well-respected attorney, former president of the Denver Bar Association, and active in countless activities sponsored by the bars as well as in unrelated community activities in the Denver area— not to mention the pro bono work he finds time to perform. His quiet dedication to service and sense of responsibility are inspirations to those who know him. In the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division, we are lucky to have very active members who are committed to the Section and the profession—and who also have very active practices—members such as Karen Mathis, Patrick Goetzinger, Lee Kolzcun, Laura Farber, and Deborah Wilson.

Another manner in which to contribute to the profession is through legal services. As we are all aware, there is a great need for free legal services in this country as the cost of litigating gets increasingly more expensive. A large number of Americans are unable to afford assistance with cases in such areas as divorce, bankruptcy, probate, real estate, landlord/tenant, consumer, and wills. There are countless attorneys who devote their careers to providing service to those who need it, in addition to even more attorneys who quietly sign up to take on these cases. Despite these efforts, the pro bono community is still in need of attorneys to sign up to take cases, or to assist with clinics, which requires no longterm commitment. In the Denver metropolitan area there are over 500 attorneys who donate their time and expertise; however, over 12,000 cases are referred to Metro Volunteer Lawyers every year. Obviously, there is still a need for all of us to donate our time to similar causes across the country, whether it be through bar associations, local legal services providers, or through smaller programs or specialty bars. Sally Maresh, Jon Asher, Jon Nichols, Steve Choquette, and Barb Chamberlain are part of a band of attorneys who participate in these programs. These individuals not only provide pro bono services but also serve on committees working to identify issues and solutions.

Finally, all of the authors featured in this magazine are giving back to the profession by writing articles for the ABA—and at the same time their research and writing help further their own expertise and practice. Their efforts benefit not only them, but also the legal profession as a whole.

Best of ABA Sections is proud to regularly provide you with articles carefully selected from ABA publications. As you peruse this periodical, think of the authors, editors, and staff who gave of their time and expertise to draft the articles and compile them in this magazine. Please also think about contacting your local or state bar or the GPSSF Section to volunteer your services.


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