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Pro Bono Week shows need for access to justice post-pandemic

This week marks Pro Bono Week, which is set aside to help those in need of legal assistance and to celebrate the work lawyers do daily to help people through pro bono volunteer efforts. From assisting in New York with rental assistance applications to offering advice in Nevada on evictions, debt collections and guardianship issues, lawyers and law firms are lending their expertise nationwide to help people through the aftereffects of the pandemic.

This year’s Pro Bono Week runs Oct. 24-30 with the theme "Moving Forward in a Post-Pandemic World."

This year’s Pro Bono Week runs Oct. 24-30 with the theme "Moving Forward in a Post-Pandemic World."

The  National Celebration of Pro Bono runs Oct. 24-30. This year, ABA President Reginald Turner is highlighting the need for legal assistance as the demand for access to justice in a post-pandemic continues to rise.

“As we look to emerge from the pandemic, access to justice for those in need is more vital than ever,” Turner said. “Millions are vulnerable to eviction, unemployment, bankruptcy and other legal challenges. The need for pro bono programs and the selfless attorneys who step up is tremendous. Together we will make a difference and recognize the power of pro bono.”

The National Celebration of Pro Bono began in 2009 to showcase the difference that pro bono lawyers can make to our system of justice, our communities and  to legal clients. Since then, more than 10,000 pro bono events have taken place in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada. The Los Angeles County Law Library has more than 80 programs this week helping people with issues ranging from unemployment to mental health.  

This year’s Pro Bono Week theme is Moving Forward in a Post-Pandemic World. Events being held include:

  •  In Texas on  Oct. 25 from 2-4 p.m., Lone Star Legal Aid will host a legal advice phone clinic for people in Lamar, Delta, Franklin, Hopkins, Morris, Red River and Titus counties .
  • In Nevada, on Oct. 26, the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada will hold a debt collections ask-a-lawyer program from 10 a.m. -12 p.m.
  • In Florida, on Oct. 27 from 3-7 p.m., Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida will host a virtual walk-in clinic to offer legal advice on expungement, bankruptcy, family, housing and guardian issues.
  • In South Carolina on Oct. 28 from 6-7:30 p.m., the South Carolina State Bar and the Spartanburg Public Library will host a free legal clinic on end-of life-issues.
  • In Washington, D.C., on Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Washington Council of Lawyers will hold a virtual veterans legal advice clinic.

Also held during the National Celebration of Pro Bono is ABA Giving Day on Thursday, Oct. 28. Organized by the ABA Fund for Justice and Education, Giving Day doubled in size this year to raise attention and support for 16 areas of the ABA that help others through public service, policy initiatives and education programs.

In the past seven years, the national celebration has focused on specific themes, including COVID-19,  domestic violence, service to veterans and disaster resiliency.

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