Each year the American Bar Association designates the last week of October as the National Pro Bono Celebration (celebrateprobono.org). This annual celebration is the rallying point for legal professionals around the country (indeed, even abroad) to encourage, grow, and celebrate efforts to ensure equal access to justice and provide service to our communities. Last year, ABA President Paulette Brown kicked it up a notch, establishing a new initiative called “And Justice for All: An ABA Day of Service” during the National Pro Bono Celebration. ABA members and staff, including President Brown herself, contributed their time, talents, and experience by providing pro bono and community service. Here’s what she had to say about the event in her ABA President’s Update of December 1, 2015:
Our lawyers stepped up in a big way and I am pleased to report our new “And Justice for All: An ABA Day of Service” was a rousing success, boosting lawyer participation during national Celebrate Pro Bono Week at the end of October. Nearly 900 events and 544 participating organizations were registered, with events held in 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and six other countries (Singapore, China, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France). This increase of about 100 events and 100 organizations over last year’s participation would not have been possible without the efforts of our general-counsel and managing-partner members. Thank you.
We already knew that solo, small firm, and general practice lawyers give generously of their time and talents to their local communities every day, not just one day or one week a year. The GPSolo Division asked, however, that its members self-identify if they participated in the 2015 ABA Day of Service. The box at the bottom of this page presents an honor roll of GPSolo Division members we wish to recognize for this service.
We are hopeful that others will follow the examples of these busy yet generous professionals and find time to give back. To that end, here is a sampling of what the members of our honor roll did for ABA Day of Service:
- represented a young child in immigration court;
- participated in a low-income legal clinic for the homeless;
- drafted living wills and medical powers of attorney;
- conducted a two-hour legal workshop class at a local public library;
- assisted in an uncontested divorce clinic;
- made home visits for a rural dog rescue project;
- worked for a veterans’ pro bono project;
- gave free advice at the courthouse on landlord/tenant issues;
- participated in a legal fair conducted by the Mexican American Bar Association;
- served on the board of a nonprofit serving low-income individuals;
- taught a class on financial literacy to high school students; and
- raised money for a local immigration project.
We know there are many more Division members who participated but were too busy donating their time to respond, so in addition to saluting the members of our honor roll, we salute all of you who recognize the special gift bestowed upon us—the keys to the courthouse—and use that gift wisely to help better our communities and provide equal access to justice.