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State Bar and Broadcasters Assn. Unveil New TV/Radio Campaign About Free Civil Legal Assistance For The Poor

Brad Carr
Alabama State Bar
Public Information Officer
(334) 517-2128 or
(334) 782-2781
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Twitter: @AlabamaStateBar
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Montgomery, Ala., September 15, 2009 – The Alabama State Bar Association has unveiled a new TV/radio campaign to address an issue central to improving the quality of life of Alabama citizens – promoting access to justice by expanding the free civil legal work lawyers provide to the poor and disadvantaged.

State Bar President Thomas J. Methvin of Montgomery (Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C.) said, "Our goal is to make access to justice in Alabama a priority like it is in other states. It is our opportunity, and our responsibility, to be a part of making Alabama a leader in ensuring true access to justice for all."

He explained that the need for increased funding for civil legal aid in Alabama is dire. "More than 940,000 Alabamians live in poverty. Alabama ranks 51st - below even Puerto Rico - in spending for legal aid (from all sources) to the poor," he said. Studies show that the state spends less than $10 per person compared to a national average of $23 per person. Last year nearly 3,000 Alabama lawyers donated 5,000 hours of free legal services to assist those individuals living at the poverty level. These are people who had legal problems ranging from foreclosure assistance to debt collections to child custody/spousal abuse to senior citizens who had been the victims of fraud.

The broadcast spots were produced and distributed in cooperation with the 400-member stations of the Alabama Broadcasters Association as part of an ongoing broadcast campaign to raise public awareness about a wide variety of legal issues that affect the lives of Alabamians.

"During these difficult economic times, it is important for members of the legal profession to do all we can to help improve the quality of life in our state," said Methvin. "These messages highlight some of the most important issues currently facing the public and our leaders in government. By taking a proactive approach, the Alabama State Bar is providing workable solutions that truly make a positive difference in the lives of people."

This is the 11th campaign ASB has undertaken in partnership with the state's broadcasters to educate the public about far-reaching legal issues whose themes have included the importance of having a healthcare directive, preventing mortgage foreclosures, and providing disaster legal assistance, for example.

"The cornerstone of our society is an understanding and respect for the legal system. One of the purposes of this campaign is to underscore the fact that lawyers render service to the community," Methvin said.

The 16,000-member Alabama State Bar is dedicated improving the administration of justice and increasing public understanding and respect for the law.