D.C.’s “Pro Bono Week,” sponsored by the Washington Council of Lawyers (WCL), kicks off on October 18th. Our local celebration coincides with the American Bar Association’s fifth annual National Pro Bono Celebration which focuses the nation’s attention on the need for pro bono services and celebrates the outstanding work of lawyers who volunteer their services throughout the year.
WCL has put together a great lineup of trainings, clinics, information sessions and social events geared toward expanding participation in, and access to, pro bono services. The events include a guided tour of D.C. Superior Court’s Landlord and Tenant Branch cosponsored by Legal Aid and Neighborhood Legal Services Program on Thursday, October 23. 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.
WCL’s (new) tumblr site provides the full lineup of Pro Bono Week events. It also includes a link to the Pro Bono Week Toolkit, which not only provides information about how to participate in Pro Bono Week activities, but also information about opportunities to engage in pro bono work all year long.
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.
Last year, Legal Aid pro bono volunteers devoted more than 36,000 hours – worth more than $16.5 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!