National Pro Bono Celebration's 700 Events Highlight Volunteer Legal Services for Those in Need

16 Oct, 2012

For the fourth straight year, lawyers will honor their responsibility to the profession and to their communities by volunteering their legal services for thousands of low-income Americans during the annual National Pro Bono Celebration Oct. 21-27, sponsored by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. 

From free legal clinics and other activities in Anchorage, Alaska, to Miami, and from Montpelier, Vt., to Los Angeles, more than 700 pro bono events in nearly every state—conducted by more than 300 law firms, bar associations, courts, law schools, corporations and other groups—are anticipated during the week of the National Pro Bono Celebration and throughout October. The Celebration website, at celebrateprobono.org, provides a state-by-state list of current and past activities. 

Typically, about 70 percent of National Pro Bono Celebration events involve volunteer training or direct service to clients. Fundraisers, award ceremonies and other National Pro Bono Celebration activities also underscore the need for and contributions of lawyers who volunteer their services for clients in poverty. 

“The National Pro Bono Celebration focuses the nation’s attention on the increased need for pro bono services during these challenging economic times and celebrates the outstanding work of lawyers who volunteer their services throughout the year,” said ABA President Laurel Bellows. 

“It is essential that the entire legal community engage in conversation and action that results in equal access to justice for all,” Bellows added. “The energy generated by the National Pro Bono Celebration is a powerful force that helps us build a just legal system.” 

The Celebration website encourages maximum participation in the National Pro Bono Celebration. Resources to assist Celebration planners include organizing tips, “clinics in a box,” a judicial toolkit, marketing templates and more. The site also hosts a Celebration Store where participants can purchase gift and giveaway items. 

The Celebration website also includes JUST Stories, a collection of powerful 2-minute advocacy stories from pro bono lawyers. 

The ABA supports pro bono work through a variety of means, including Model Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1, which encourages lawyers to provide at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services per year. 

The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, sponsor of the National Pro Bono Celebration, provides national leadership in policy, outreach, implementation and technical assistance activities designed to encourage, expand and improve pro bono activities and programs. 

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the world’s largest voluntary professional membership organization. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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