This year marks the American Bar Association’s (ABA) 12th Annual Celebration of Pro Bono. This event is meant to encourage local communities to plan events that focus on pro bono work and celebrate the lawyers who have donated their time to provide legal services to those unfortunate. During these pressing times of COVID-19, it is even more important to highlight the pro bono work individuals and organizations are doing. This year’s theme, aligning with current events, is “Rising to Meet the Challenge: Pro Bono Response to COVID-19”. This event will last from October 21 – 31, 2020, with many bar associations, legal departments, law firms, and other groups hosting their own Pro Bono Week events throughout the country. This is a unique opportunity to explore events across the country. Some of the virtual events include:
- A panel on the history of voting rights in San Diego, CA that touches on topics such as the 15th Amendment, current barriers for citizens to vote, and how COVID-19 challenges affect elections.
- A legal advice hotline in Houston, TX where individuals could receive legal advice from a volunteer attorney at no cost.
- A webinar on the best practices representing immigrant clients in Bismarck, ND.
- An expungement training seminar in Woodbury, NJ, organized by South Jersey Legal Services.
Here in Washington, D.C., the Washington Council of Lawyers is presenting DC Pro Bono Week (Oct 25-31) with clinics, webinars, luncheons, and more, including:
- Coding Justice, a collaborative event that explores creative solutions to traditional legal problems. This year, there will be a group o professional outside the legal sector that will lead a discussion on serving clients remotely.
- Pro Bono Goes Green, hosted by the Environmental Law Institute and featuring a panel to discuss opportunities for involvement in environmental and climate change initiatives.
- Small Business Brief Advice Legal Clinic, allows current and small business owners to speak with an attorney about their legal problems. Volunteers can shadow veteran volunteers during their first consultations.
- Advancing Racial Justice and Equity, a webinar with experts in the field and attorneys who work on these issues.
With most of this year’s events online, you can find many opportunities to kickstart or further develop your pro bono work. How are you participating in Pro Bono Week? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.