Lawyers and law firms across the country are participating in volunteer events as part of the National Celebration of Pro Bono, which runs Oct. 25-31. This year, ABA President Patricia Lee Refo is highlighting the need for legal assistance for challenges associated with COVID-19.
The National Celebration of Pro Bono began in 2009 to showcase the difference that pro bono lawyers can make to our nation, to our system of justice, to our communities and to the clients they serve. Since then, more than 10,000 events have taken place in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada.
The theme for this year is “Rising to Meet the Challenge: Pro Bono Response to COVID-19”. Among the events being held during the National Celebration of Pro Bono:
- In Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 29 the Los Angeles Law Library will host an online program on accessible voting for people with disabilities during COVID-19.
- In Washington, D.C., on Oct. 24, the Washington Council of Lawyers, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and Equal Justice Works held an immigration consultation virtual clinic.
- In Florida, on Oct. 21, Jacksonville Legal Aid hosted a clinic to assist tenants with eviction defense.
- In Pennsylvania, on Oct. 21 the Dauphin County Bar Association in Harrisburg remotely helped parents with custody forms.
- In New York, on Oct. 22, , the Unity House of Troy, N.Y., hosted a virtual conference on elder abuse and asphyxiation.
- In Nevada, on Oct. 26, the Nevada Legal Services will hold a Family Law Telephonic Law Fair.
- In Hawaii, on Oct. 28, the Hawaii State Bar Association is offering free legal general advice and information.
“Now more than ever, we all have witnessed the growing need for pro bono legal services as a response to COVID-19,” Refo said. “During these difficult times, countless lawyers have met the challenge to provide legal assistance during the pandemic. Though many pro bono programs will be virtual this year, the ABA’s commitment to our communities hasn’t changed. As we recognize the power of pro bono lawyers and programs around the country, we know that together, we will continue to make a difference.”
A new feature for Pro Bono Week is ABA Giving Day, Thursday, Oct. 29. The day is organized by the ABA Fund for Justice and Education and developed to assist people with legal services as a result of COVID-19. People can donate money to invest in eight ABA programs that “counter the impact of COVID-19 and champion racial justice across America.”
In the past six years, the national pro bono celebration has focused on specific themes, including domestic violence, service to veterans and disaster resiliency.