ABA Recognizes Pro Bono Work by Lawyers in Second Annual Celebration
Next week, hundreds of law firms, bar associations and other legal groups across the country will recognize work done on behalf of the poor and underserved with the second annual pro bono celebration. The _ Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service is sponsoring this pro bono recognition from October 24th through the 30th.
Pro bono refers to legal work that lawyers do without a fee for the benefit of their communities. This work can include representing individuals near or below the poverty line in civil cases such as landlord-tenant disputes, custody issues or foreclosures. It can also include legal work on behalf of an organization that serves the poor, such as a homeless shelter.
“The commitment to pro bono work is fundamental to being a lawyer,” said ABA President Stephen N. Zack. “Pro bono helps fill the enormous justice gap faced by poor people in our country, answering a need that’s greater than ever during economic hard times. This week honors the countless lawyers around the country who donate their time to helping people and causes that otherwise wouldn’t have an advocate. We celebrate all the ways lawyers serve our communities, strengthen our justice system and support the rule of law.”
Zack notes that the ABA has an aspirational goal for each lawyer to provide 50 hours of pro bono service each year.
State and local bar associations, law firms, law schools and other legal organizations are organizing events that highlight ongoing programs or develop news ones. More than half of the events are either direct service clinics for low-income individuals or training for lawyers in specific pro bono work, including service to immigrant communities, domestic violence victims and general legal advice. To date local organizers have planned more than 485 events in 48 states. Additional information about Celebrate Pro Bono Week, as well as a list of planned events and an interactive map is available on the Celebrate Pro Bono website.
“In just one year, we have seen tremendous growth in Celebrate Pro Bono week,” said Michael Pratt, chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, which sponsors the pro bono recognition week. “Virtually every segment of the legal profession has stepped up to plan and participate in pro bono events; nearly every state is organizing at least one program. The depth and breadth of the celebration is very impressive, after just one year.”