The contributions of pro bono attorneys are being celebrated nationwide and here in the District this week as part of the annual National Pro Bono Celebration, sponsored by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. This effort is designed to showcase the great difference that pro bono lawyers make to the nation, its system of justice, its communities and, most of all, to the clients they serve.
Each year through Legal Aid’s Pro Bono Program, hundreds of lawyers and law students volunteer at Legal Aid’s offices, represent clients referred by Legal Aid, or partner with legal Aid on special projects. These pro bono volunteers help tenants stave off evictions and secure their rights to safe and well maintained housing, assist parents in achieving family stability through child custody and support arrangements, and represent individuals pursuing disability benefits because they can no longer work due to deteriorating health. In many cases, but for the availability of pro bono volunteers, these clients would have been turned away from Legal Aid due to constraints on staff time and resources.
As families living in poverty are hit hard by the economic recession and more in our community slip into poverty every day, there has been an increased demand for legal services. Our pro bono volunteers have played a vital role over the past year in helping to meet this need. The success of Legal Aid’s Pro Bono Program demonstrates the commitment of Washington’s legal community to equal justice and makes a profound difference in the lives of persons living in poverty in the District.
To all of you who are part of Legal Aid’s ever increasing pro bono family, we want to take time out this week to thank you for the work you do on behalf of District families living in poverty. We celebrate your contribution to equal justice for all not just this week, but each and every day of the year. Thank you!