Celebrate Pro Bono Month Is Here!

It’s Easy to Be a Part

October is “Celebrate Pro Bono Month,” and Tennessee lawyers are joining their colleagues across the country to provide free legal services to those in need and honor the good work performed by lawyers every day as part of the annual National Pro Bono Celebration. Tennessee is among a small group of states that celebrates Pro Bono Month, not just a single day or week. Now in its 10th year, the TBA’s statewide Celebrate Pro Bono initiative brings together legal services providers with local bar associations, law schools, law firms and individual lawyers to offer free services to those unable to afford a lawyer.

This year hundreds of volunteers will participate in dozens of events and activities across the state that will offer assistance to Tennesseans in need. Activities include legal advice clinics, education programs and public presentations, as well as events to increase support for legal services and demonstrate appreciation for volunteer attorneys.

Every year, Tennessee lawyers help thousands of clients by providing free legal assistance. The month of October is an opportunity to focus attention on the significant need for pro bono services, as well as a celebration of the outstanding work of those in the legal community who volunteer their services throughout the year.

Events, including opportunities to volunteer, will be promoted in TBA Today and on the Tennessee Bar Association website throughout October. The full list of Celebrate Pro Bono Month activities is available at tba.org/info/ celebrate-pro-bono-month-2018.

Be sure to read TBA President Jason Pannu’s column in this issue for more insights and inspiration about pro bono.  

 

Spotlights Across the State

Throughout the month of October, TBA and partner organizations will also be featuring profiles of pro bono volunteers and legal aid staff on websites and via social media.

We will hear from these leaders about the significance of pro bono in the legal profession and why they take time to help. Attorneys, pro bono coordinators and paralegals will share success stories, motivation and tips for attorneys thinking about doing pro bono for the first time.

As always, Celebrate Pro Bono Month focuses a spotlight on the amazing work that Tennessee’s pro bono attorneys and legal service groups accomplish throughout the year. TBA and partner organizations are proud to share a few examples of the amazing work that organizations and attorneys across the state do every day to meet the legal needs of those who can’t afford an attorney.

 

How YOU Can Help

There are many ways to do pro bono: advice clinics, service through TnFreeLegalAnswers.org (formerly OnlineTNJustice.org), document preparation, incorporation of new nonprofits, community legal education and other opportunities for limited or extended representation.

There may be a perception that the primary opportunities for pro bono legal service are only for lawyers with an expertise in family law, housing, debt or other issues that are most common for underserved or low-income clients. While there are many opportunities in those areas, there are also countless other ways to provide pro bono service, and training is nearly always available for all types of pro bono service. Local legal aid offices can help any lawyer find their place doing pro bono.

The 2018 National Celebration of Pro Bono is encouraging events focused on disaster preparation andresiliency, in recognition that advance planning and education are critical to providing an effective response when disaster does impact a community.

Disasters, both natural and manmade, can result in large populations in immediate need of legal assistance on a number of topics. Disaster survivors face countless legal issues — from insurance disputes to FEMA appeals, landlord tenant disputes, consumer fraud, health and education issues, and so much more. TBA and our partners have resources and materials available that can assist in responding to their needs.

Over the past few years, Tennesseans have been called on to provide legal support and assistance in response to disasters within our own state and across the country. Fortunately, technology provides great opportunity for lawyers to deliver assistance remotely, eliminating barriers of distance, scheduling and limited access to those in need. Services such as HELP4TN.org and ABA Free Legal Answers have proven incredibly valuable in increasing connections during times of emergency.

Although it is difficult to know when disaster may strike, legal services providers can have a plan in place to mobilize community attorneys to provide pro bono assistance when necessary.

 

Keep Up with the Story

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