Volunteering for justice: County Council celebrates Pro Bono Week

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

“Jorge L. Barón, Executive Director, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (holding proclamation), is joined by Councilmembers and attorneys representing the King County Bar Association, Eastside Legal Assistance and the Washington State Bar Association after the Council declared October 22–28 as Pro Bono Week in King County.”

The Metropolitan King County Council has proclaimed the week of October 22–28 as “Pro Bono Week” in honor of those who volunteer their time pro bono to provide legal services to individuals and families in need.

“Recognizing Pro Bono week highlights the importance of providing legal representation to those in our community most in need,” said Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn, co-sponsor of the proclamation. “I’d like to thank the attorneys in our region who dedicate their time and talent for the benefit of others and encourage others to participate in this worthy cause.”

“Many of the most meaningful experiences of my legal career came from my service as a pro bono attorney representing domestic violence survivors, and working on cases regarding immigration and family law disputes,” said proclamation co-sponsor Vice Chair Rod Dembowski. 
“It is an honor to highlight the tireless work done by pro bono attorneys, on behalf of our most vulnerable. Our justice system is better for everyone, as a result of their efforts and dedication.”

In 2016, over 345,525 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.


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