Montgomery, Alabama, October 17, 2011 – Providing free legal services to the poor and at-risk is not just a professional responsibility but a fiscal imperative the Alabama State Bar is helping to meet as part of this year’s statewide Pro Bono Week free civil legal services campaign.
For example, during the week of October 23-29, lawyers in Madison County will provide free legal advice to help homeless veterans with civil legal issues. Birmingham-area lawyers will counsel low-income elderly persons at senior citizen centers and first-responders in Mobile will have free simple wills prepared as part of the “Wills for Heroes” program.
Alabama State Bar President James R. Pratt, III, of Birmingham (Hare Wynn Newell & Newton LLP) said, “Lawyers have no greater responsibility than to ensure that those who are society’s most vulnerable have the same access to justice as the most powerful.”
Lawyers in each of the state’s 42 judicial circuits will participate in such activities as: conducting free legal clinics offering advice and counsel in areas such as probate, elder and family law; discussing with community and civic groups the critical need for the Legislature to provide a continuous stream of funding for legal services, and recruiting additional lawyers to volunteer to provide pro bono service.
“Military veterans returning home have enormous legal needs. So do thousands of struggling Alabama families who are fighting to keep their homes or access to health care. These are the kinds of legal matters that pro bono lawyers win for the neighbor next-door. They are examples of how pro bono lawyers help keep families together and provide a measure of stability for society,” Pratt said.
A schedule is available online for other upcoming free legal advice clinics planned statewide, go to: www.alabar.org/clinics. For more information on these events and other services that the Alabama State Bar Volunteer Lawyers Program provides, call (334) 269-1515.
The 16,900-member Alabama State Bar is dedicated to promoting the professional responsibility, competence and satisfaction of its members, improving the administration of justice and increasing public understanding and respect for the law.