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July 08, 2020

Join us for the National Celebration of Pro Bono

David F. Bienvenu, Chair, ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service

We hope you will join us for the 12th Annual National Celebration of Pro Bono, October 25-31, 2020. The Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service launched the Celebration in 2009 to showcase the indelible difference that pro bono lawyers make to our nation, to our system of justice, to our communities, and most of all, to the clients they serve. The timing of the initial National Celebration of Pro Bono was particularly important. As economic conditions worsened, the need for pro bono services increased as more and more people struggled to afford access to an attorney.

In 2020, we find ourselves in unprecedented times in the United States and across the world. The coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing struggle to achieve racial justice present many challenges for programs and clients throughout the country. It may feel like we do not have much to celebrate this year, or that celebrating is inappropriate, but among the definitions of “celebrate” is “to honor (an occasion, such as a holiday) especially by solemn ceremonies.” In these difficult times it is even more vital to honor the role of pro bono in advancing access to justice and equity, and we hope that you will join us in doing so.

In 2020, we encourage you to recognize the efforts of pro bono programs and attorneys across the country who are working tirelessly to address the many legal needs arising from the coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 Celebration is an opportunity to connect pro bono providers and attorneys across the nation to address the many legal needs resulting from the pandemic. Evictions, bankruptcy, support for small businesses, and a backlog of cases from court closures and delays are just a few of the many areas where individuals need legal assistance as a result of the pandemic and resulting economic shutdowns across the country. We are asking you to assist vulnerable individuals by providing pro bono assistance, recognizing attorneys who do the important pro bono work of assisting clients in need, or providing education and training on areas of particular need in your community.  

We understand that the 2020 Celebration will look different than years past, and that planning is difficult when the future is unknown. The Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service is here to support you with resources to assist with planning your events and campaigns. Visit our National Celebration of Pro Bono website for event ideas and resources, or contact the ABA Center for Pro Bono to help facilitate your planning. Together, we can make a difference and recognize the power of pro bono programs and attorneys across the nation.