Tuesday, October 25, 2016
|Pro bono week at King County Council|
The Metropolitan King County Council proclaimed the week of October 23–29 as “Pro Bono Week” in honor of those who volunteer their time pro bono to provide legal services to individuals and families in need.
“Celebrating and honoring the tireless work by pro bono attorneys, on behalf of the most vulnerable in our community, has become one of my favorite annual traditions at the Council,” said proclamation co-sponsor Vice Chair Rod Dembowski.
“When I was an attorney in private practice, I volunteered my time on a number of pro bono cases, including those on behalf of domestic violence survivors. The cases were some of the most difficult, yet most enriching experiences of my career, and have given me a deep appreciation for all attorneys in our community who volunteer to represent others.”
In 2015, over 327,000 hours of volunteer legal help was provided 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.