Recognizes efforts of volunteer attorneys to increase access to justice
StoryThe Metropolitan King County Council proclaimed the week of October 21 – 27 as “Celebration of Pro Bono Week” today in honor of those who volunteer their time pro bono to provide legal services to individuals and families in need.
“This is our opportunity to thank those who give their time and energy helping others. They deserve recognition and our appreciation,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson, who worked as attorney prior to being elected to the Council. “Pro bono services and programs are critical to helping the most vulnerable in our community enforce their rights and protections under the law.”
“I am proud of the efforts of the members of the Washington State Bar to serve those who may not otherwise be able to afford legal services,” said Michele Radosevich, President of the Washington State Bar Association. “We appreciate the support the King County Council provides to legal aid programs, which helps leverage the many volunteer attorneys in our community.”
“Access to a legal aid attorney can help families in crisis avoid foreclosure, balk fraudulent or predatory practices, protect themselves from domestic violence, and maintain employment, healthcare and livelihood,” said Eric González, Director of the Equal Justice Coalition. “We are grateful that the King County Council recognizes the value of the work and commitment by attorneys in our community to provide these critical services.”
In 2011, over 76,000 hours of volunteer legal help was provided to over 20,000 individuals and families by Washington State attorneys. According to the Alliance for Equal Justice, a network of legal aid organizations, three out of four low‐income households in Washington State face a civil legal problem every year, and more than 80 percent of them face those problems without any legal help or representation.
WHEREAS, our justice system is founded on the fundamental principles of equity and fairness, and pro bono services grant individuals access to legal representation regardless of their means; and
WHEREAS, nearly three out of four Washington households face urgent civil legal issues each year, including domestic violence, divorce, child custody, foreclosure, eviction, and financial fraud and abuse, but only twenty percent of these families receive any legal assistance on these matters; and
WHEREAS, in the wake of the current recession, the need for legal services has become more pronounced while the funding available for civil legal aid programs in Washington has declined; and
WHEREAS, access to legal assistance can improve economic security and reduce homelessness and domestic violence; and
WHEREAS, to address the legal needs of low-income individuals, legal service agencies, pro bono service programs, the Washington State Bar Association, and local bar associations throughout King County have enlisted the services of volunteer attorneys; and
WHEREAS, in 2011, Washington attorneys provided over 76,000 hours of volunteer legal help to over 20,000 individuals and families to ensure equal access to justice and contributed to the effective and efficient administration of justice when they could not otherwise have afforded it; and
WHEREAS, National Pro Bono Week provides an opportunity to highlight the good work that Washington State attorneys do for the neediest among us;
NOW, THEREFORE, WE, the Metropolitan King County Council, hereby proclaim October 21-27, 2012, as
CELEBRATION OF PRO BONO WEEK
in King County to honor and thank those who volunteer their time and expertise to provide legal service to those in need.
Members of the Metropolitan King County Council are joined by attorneys from throughout King County after declaring the week of Oct. 21-27 “Celebration of Pro Bono Week” in King County. Michele Radosevich, President of the Washington State Bar Association is holding the Council proclamation.