by Cynthia Montoya, PBI Intern
With Pro Bono Week right around the corner, now is a great time to solidify longstanding partnerships and make new connections that can inspire pro bono throughout the year! On October 23-29, 2022, the legal community will come together to participate in the American Bar Association (ABA) National Celebration of Pro Bono. The programs and events planned during this week present a great way to get involved in the community, meet new colleagues, and give back through pro bono service. The annual celebration highlights the hard work of legal staff, law students, and lawyers partaking in impactful pro bono work nationwide. Through the national celebration and many parallel local events, there are many opportunities to get involved in-person or virtually.
Participating in pro bono has many benefits for the communities where the work is being done. Yet, it is also an opportunity to connect with other legal professionals through pro bono teamwork. By joining community-wide pro bono events, volunteers can meet other legal professionals with similar pro bono interests. This is particularly true this year, as more in-person events are being hosted since the start of the pandemic!
The theme for the 2022 National Celebration of Pro Bono is “Law in Everyday Life,” highlighting how legal assistance can help low-income individuals and other marginalized people in all aspects of life. This year’s theme is structured for legal professionals to focus on local needs, local programs, and local issues, with the purpose of furthering a unified effort to provide access to justice for low-income people and individuals in vulnerable communities post-covid.
There will be events honoring the pro bono work being done throughout the country, and opportunities for training and service in various areas of pro bono. Multiple events are being hosted throughout the nation by local bar associations, firms, and organizations celebrating Pro Bono week through clinics, training, and other events nationwide, including these examples:
- A legal clinic conducting survey calls to North Carolina drivers who have received tailored advice letters from the center to restore their licenses after being suspended, a clinic hosted by the NC Pro Bono Resource Center (PBRC), and staffed by UNC law students.
- A CLE training provides attendees an overview of what is involved in representing a client with an asylum proceeding (in a detention center, in court, or before USCIS) in San Diego, California, hosted by Casa Cornelia Law Center.
- A recruitment event, where over 40 of Chicago’s legal aid, pro bono, community service, and mentoring organizations will meet in a virtual event on how to make a difference in Chicago, Illinois, hosted by the Chicago Bar Association and Chicago Bar Foundation.
- Clinics throughout the state of Louisiana will provide Ask-a-Lawyer Consultations in libraries hosted by the Louisiana State Bar Association.
You can learn about more events and opportunities being hosted nationwide through this calendar.
In Washington, D.C., the Washington Council of Lawyers is hosting its annual DC Pro Bono Week from October 23-29, concurrently with the ABA celebration. They are hosting events throughout the whole month with opportunities to join either in-person or virtually. These are only some of the many local events happening in DC:
- The Washington Council of Lawyers kicks off the Pro Bono Week celebration with Pro Bono Goes Local, featuring guest speakers Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby from the D.C. Court of Appeals and Chief Judge Josey-Herring from the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.
- Meeting Our Clients Where They Are: Serving Families East of the River, co-hosted by Bread for the City and Children’s Law Center, will feature a discussion on how lawyers can address non-medical barriers to health, and the benefits of co-locating legal services with non-lawyers.
- Veterans Consortium Legal Muster Pop-up Clinics will be an opportunity for DC area law students, and local volunteers to partner with The Veterans Consortium (TVC) to serve the needs of veterans.
All events in DC Pro Bono Week are free but require registration.
There are also affiliated trainings happening before and after DC Pro Bono Week as another way to get involved, including:
- Trauma-Informed Lawyering is a training to educate about the effects of trauma on survivors, the impact of their legal goals, and tips on how to navigate communication with a client in an informed manner.
- TzedekDC Debt Collection Defense Training will train volunteers to assist residents in the DC area, primarily east of the river, with legal assistance, and empower and inform people on navigating the legal system.
Pro Bono Week is a fantastic opportunity to get involved in pro bono work, whether you are jumpstarting a new project, or reengaging in a longstanding project. It’s a chance to learn about and train in different areas of pro bono that can be continued into the following year. So find an event near you, and make an important contribution to your community!
If there is any Pro Bono Week event happening that you would love to share with us or tell us about your experience, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.