The following is the monthly message from Tom Methvin, who is serving as President of the Alabama State Bar Association.
Alabama Celebrates National Pro Bono Week
The Alabama State Bar will celebrate National Pro Bono Week, Oct. 25-31, 2009. This celebration recognizes the valuable work lawyers do throughout the year to represent those who cannot afford civil legal assistance. The event provides a time to reflect on this core value of our profession, celebrate the achievements of pro bono activities, and elevate them to even higher levels of service. This is a time to both educate the public about the pro bono services attorneys provide, and to celebrate those providing those services – Alabama lawyers.
Alabama was the first state in the nation to officially designate October 25-31, 2009 as Pro Bono Week, with a proclamation signed by Gov. Bob Riley.
Pro Bono work is a priority for the Alabama State Bar, and is accomplished through the Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP). The VLP works to meet the needs of low-income Alabamians with the active participation of our members, who donate their time to ensure the underserved have equal access to justice. Our clients are low-income persons who cannot afford an attorney and who have a wide range of legal problems including consumer, domestic, housing, and probate matters.
As part of Pro Bono Week, the Bar set a number of goals designed to help those in need, to promote Volunteer Lawyer service to our colleagues in the legal community, to help increase funding for these services, and to raise public awareness of pro bono work.
Outreach activities will include a partnership with every circuit in the State, and all five law schools to provide pro bono services in their communities. VLP clinics will provide free legal services all over the state within the 60-day timeframe surrounding Pro Bono Week.
In addition to participating in hands-on service events, Bar members also will speak to members of the media, as well as to civic clubs and organizations, and Public Service Announcements about Pro Bono Week will be broadcast throughout the state on television and radio. These efforts will help raise the profile of the legal profession by illustrating the good work attorneys do within the community, while helping to educate the public about the varied nature of pro bono work and the many people it serves.
The Alabama State Bar has set up a special web site with more information about plans for the National Pro Bono Celebration, including a calendar of events that will be taking place throughout the state. Visit us at http://www.alabar.org/ProBonoWeek/index.cfm.
October 1, 2009
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