Celebrate Pro Bono Month: Tennessee Lawyers Step Up for October Event

Tennessee lawyers this month are again joining their colleagues from across the country to provide free legal services to those in need and celebrate the good work performed by lawyers every day.

Following on the success of last year's Celebrate Pro Bono Month when more than 200 Tennessee lawyers assisted more than 400 clients on topics ranging from domestic violence protection to estate planning, lawyers are again stepping up to provide legal clinics, education programs, public presentations and other events.   Activities kick off with a Nashville legal clinic on Oct. 2 and continue throughout the month at cities and towns across the state. You can find a complete listing of programs and learn how to volunteer at www.tba.org/celebrateprobono/cpb_events.html

Celebrate Pro Bono Month is part of a national campaign launched last year by the American Bar Association. In Tennessee, Gov. Phil Bredesen has again recognized the good works of Tennessee attorneys in meeting the tremendous need for legal services in a proclamation declaring October as Celebrate Pro Bono Month in Tennessee. In this document, the governor commended Tennessee lawyers for providing more than $45 million worth of pro bono or free legal assistance last year, and noted that more than 500 victims of the devastating May floods were assisted with their disaster-related legal needs by volunteer Tennessee attorneys.

Of course, the need for legal assistance to the poor is not limited to problems following a natural disaster. Studies show that more than one million Tennesseans are unable to afford the legal services they need. "Despite funding for legal assistance provided by the Legal Services Corporation, the state of Tennessee, and private fundraising efforts," the governor wrote, "four out of five requests to legal aid are turned down due to lack of resources."

Tennessee lawyers can continue to help meet this need by volunteering to take part in Celebrate Pro Bono Month activities or by signing up with pro bono organizations across the state.