The pandemic has changed the landscape for many, businesses closing, individuals facing eviction, and unemployment and disproportionate impacts on communities of color. Legal professionals of all practice areas and license types can help in a variety of ways. In October, the WSBA celebrates Pro Bono Month. Even as the month comes to a close, it’s always a good time to look at ways members of the legal community can help and take action.
The Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC 6.1) speak to the responsibility lawyers have in taking on pro bono work, “assisting in the provision of legal services to those unable to pay.” Volunteering with a qualified legal service provider (QLSP)—nonprofit legal service organizations dedicated to serving low-income individuals and families—is one way to do so. Your pro bono work with any of these organizations can be self-reported as MCLE credits (contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information).
You can learn more about other rewarding opportunities here on WSBA’s Public Service and Pro Bono Opportunities page and the Celebrate Pro Bono calendar.
Pro Bono CLEs
Are you a current volunteer? The WSBA offers free on-demand CLE courses to support those who provide pro bono and public services through a QLSP or a WSBA Public Service Program, such as the Moderate Means Program. To get access to these free CLEs, please contact email@example.com.
In the latest issue of Washington State Bar News, Pro Bono and Public Service Committee (PBPSC) Co-Chair Nicholas Larson explained: “The PBPSC’s purpose is to enhance a culture of service by promoting opportunities and best practices that encourage WSBA members to engage in pro bono and public service, with a particular emphasis on services to low- and moderate-income individuals.”
On Oct. 27, consider joining us for this month’s Legal Lunchbox TM in collaboration with the PBPSC on “Serving Low-Income Clients at the Intersection of Family Law and Structural Poverty.” The live webcast is free to WSBA members, but also available for purchase as an on-demand seminar. Gonzaga University School of Law professor Kim Hai Pearson will define and contextualize structural poverty, and explain why the competent attorney must understand the broader structural and societal forces at work.
How to Help
For additional resources for finding pro bono opportunities and low bono work, please see:
- Volunteer Opportunities
- COVID-19 pro bono resources
- Moderate Means Program (which recently began giving referrals for employment law)
- Powerful Communities