County Council celebrates Pro Bono Week
It’s an opportunity to aid those seeking assistance navigating the court system but don’t have the money for an attorney.
The Metropolitan King County Council proclaimed October 21–27 as “Pro Bono Week” in King County honor of those who volunteer their time pro bono to provide legal services to individuals and families in need.
“Time committed to pro bono work is invaluable to both the attorney and the people they help,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn, sponsor of the proclamation. “Pro bono work is a true chance to give back to the community and provide assistance to those who can’t afford legal services.”
In 2017, 5,000 attorneys across the state provided close to 346,000 hours of volunteer legal help to individuals and families. According to a recent civil legal needs study commissioned by the Washington Supreme Court, seven in ten low-income households in Washington State face at least one significant civil legal problem each year. Since 2003, the average number of legal problems per household has more than tripled.
Law schools throughout the state have developed a strong culture of service through pro bono programs that help provide their students gain real world experience. Private firms offer support to legal aid organizations through partnerships that encourage pro bono – which the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) and the King County Bar Association promote.
King County has stepped up to support legal services in recent years due to declining federal support and stagnant state funding. The County’s role has enabled legal aid organizations to leverage support through unique partnerships.
|Catherine Brown with the King County Bar Association (holding proclamation) and Councilmembers are joined by representatives of the Washington state Bar Association, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and Eastside Legal Assistance after the Council declared October 21–27 as Pro Bono Week in King County.
WHEREAS, equal justice for all is a fundamental and essential right in a democratic society; and
WHEREAS, nearly three in four Washington residents face urgent civil legal issues each year, including issues related to health care, consumer and financial services, domestic violence, divorce, child custody, foreclosure, eviction, and abuse; but less than 25 percent receive legal assistance; and
WHEREAS, civil legal aid is often an indispensable tool necessary to address critical survival needs such as employment and income, housing, healthcare, education, and family safety; and
WHEREAS, access to a pro bono or civil legal aid attorney can mean the difference between shelter and homelessness, economic stability and bankruptcy, productive work and unemployment; and
WHEREAS, Washington’s Alliance for Equal Justice network, including pro bono service programs, legal services organizations, law schools, the American Bar Association, the Washington State Bar Association, the King County Bar Association, local county bar associations, private firms, the corporate counsel community, and many others are working together to enlist the services of volunteer attorneys to address the legal needs of low-income people; and
WHEREAS, in 2017, nearly 5,000 attorneys in Washington State provided nearly 346,000 hours in volunteer legal help to individuals and families;
NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, proclaim the week of October 21-27, 2018 as
|PRO BONO WEEK
in King County to honor and thank the attorneys who volunteer their time and expertise to provide legal services to those in need.
DATED this twenty-second day of October, 2018.