News Post

Alabama State Bar Celebrates Pro Bono Month

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MONTGOMERY – The Alabama State Bar announces that the month of October 2016 has been designated as Pro Bono Month in the state of Alabama by issue of a proclamation from Governor Robert Bentley.

Pro Bono Month focuses on the work of attorneys and legal professionals who have taken on civil legal cases at no cost and have donated their time to help citizens who may not otherwise have access to legal assistance. The month-long celebration works to educate the public on these pro bono efforts made by Alabama lawyers, and lawyers across the country. Currently, there are more than 4,500 attorneys in Alabama who are enrolled in pro bono programs statewide.

Alabama State Bar President J. Cole Portis of the Beasley Allen Law Firm (Montgomery) is one of the many attorneys who dedicates his time to pro bono legal cases. Like other attorneys who have participated in pro bono cases, Portis’ experiences have rewarded him both personally and professionally. He describes his experience below:

“In Proverbs, the writer says that ‘whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor,'” said Alabama State Bar President J. Cole Portis of the Beasley Allen Law Firm. “Alabama lawyers understand the necessity of helping our neighbors. Our neighbors in our communities include people who live below the poverty level. Fortunately, as lawyers, we are blessed with unique skills that allow us to help those in poverty avoid unjust results in our civil judicial system. While low income citizens in Alabama are the recipients of legal help, Alabama lawyers tell me that these clients bring tremendous joy and satisfaction to their legal work. Hopefully, the work of Alabama lawyers will inspire others around them to generously love their neighbors.”

With more than 19 percent of Alabamians and 27 percent of Alabama’s children living below the poverty level, pro bono services are necessary to assist low-income individuals with legal problems. During the month of October, events highlighting pro bono services will bring attention to the growing need to help citizens living below the poverty level. These events include poverty simulations, free legal advice clinics, senior citizen clinics, service projects and more.

“The legal profession is among the very few that calls on its members to make a difference in their communities through pro bono work,” said Linda Lund, Alabama State Bar Volunteer Lawyers Program Director. “Our celebration offers a time to reflect on this core value of our profession, and although statewide in breadth, this celebration provides an opportunity for local bar associations to showcase the great difference that pro bono lawyers make in their communities.”

This is the eighth year that the Alabama State Bar has participated in the Pro Bono Celebration. To view all of the Pro Bono Month events across the state of Alabama, go here. To view the proclamation signed by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, go here.