The fourth annual National Pro Bono Celebration, often referred to as Pro Bono Week, will take place October 20-26 in Washington, DC and across the country. Sponsored by the American Bar Association, this week of celebration is designed to focus attention on the increased need for pro bono services during these challenging economic times and to celebrate the outstanding work of lawyers who volunteer their services throughout the year.
Here in DC, the Washington Council of Lawyers is coordinating several citywide activities and events celebrating Pro Bono Week, including a guided tour of the D.C. Superior Court’s Landlord and Tenant Branch cosponsored by Legal Aid and Neighborhood Legal Services Program. The tour is for lawyers who are interested in learning about this fast-paced, high-volume court and how they can help low-income individuals and families assert their rights and remain in their homes.
Legal Aid’s robust Pro Bono Program relies on key partnerships with law firms and individual lawyers throughout the city who: help tenants stave off evictions and secure rights to safe and well-maintained housing; help families at risk of foreclosure maintain home ownership; represent victims of domestic violence seeking protection orders; assist parents in achieving family stability through child custody and support arrangements; represent individuals seeking disability benefits because their deteriorating health prevents them from working; and, ensure that persons living in poverty access benefits available to them.
Our 2012 figures indicate that last year alone, Legal Aid pro bono volunteers devoted more than 34,000 hours – worth more than $16 million – to make justice real for low income individuals and families in our community. We thank and celebrate those of you throughout the city who contributed your time and talent to this extraordinary effort!