The American Bar Association has designated the week of Oct. 25-31 as National Pro Bono Week, and all across the country lawyers will be taking part in events to educate the public and the legal profession about pro bono and to honor those in the legal profession who routinely provide free legal help to improve the lives of the needy.
In Michigan, the State Bar's Pro Bono Initiative is going further by designating the full month of October as Pro Bono Month and urging members of the legal community, legal service providers, and bar associations to coordinate their pro bono events with the State Bar and national celebrations.
"Pro Bono Month will be an opportunity to shine the light on the good works of attorneys who help in many different ways to deliver civil legal aid to those who need it most," said Ed Pappas, president of the State Bar of Michigan. "Pro bono help does not just mean representing indigent clients free in court. Pro bono can also include an attorney making a financial contribution of $300 annually to promote civil legal aid or providing 30 hours of legal services to low-income individuals or not-for-profit organizations providing direct services to the poor."
The Pro Bono Initiative encourages organizations to plan free events such as training sessions, legal aid clinics, or recognition of pro bono attorneys and to inform the State Bar of these activities so they can be listed and publicized on the Bar's online calendar and website. More details about these listings are forthcoming.
For more information on the national pro bono effort, visit www.celebrateprobono.org. To find out how to obtain a referral for a pro bono case, contact the State Bar or your local legal aid program. To make a financial donation through the Access to Justice Fund to support legal aid, visit www.atjfund.org.