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    Inside the Bar: Celebrate Pro Bono!

    Take part in National Pro Bono Celebration activities, Oct. 25-31, to recognize the service that so many lawyers provide for the public good. 

    George Brown

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    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 82, No. 10, October 2009

    George BrownMost lawyers do some of it. Some lawyers do a lot. Although some people disagree on its definition, lawyers are the only profession with an expectation that it be done at all. “It,” of course, is pro bono. And while the State Bar of Wisconsin annually recognizes pro bono efforts at our annual Volunteer Lawyers Recognition Celebration (part of the annual convention), there has been no nationwide effort to celebrate the service that so many lawyers provide for the public good.

    That is about to change. The first annual National Pro Bono Celebration is scheduled for the week of Oct. 25-31. Sponsored by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, the celebration is a coordinated effort to demonstrate the important difference that lawyers’ pro bono activities make to the country, our justice system, and the individuals whose lives are made better by these efforts.

    The State Bar of Wisconsin is helping to sponsor this celebration and to organize some relevant events. Elsewhere in this issue of the Wisconsin Lawyer you will find a special Pro Bono Honor Roll recognizing Wisconsin lawyers for their pro bono work. Lawyers across Wisconsin have volunteered to write letters to the editor or special articles in their bar publications recognizing the importance of pro bono service provided by lawyers in their communities. A group of lawyers who work for the State Bar will be participating in a specially organized Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) Hotline during the celebration week.

    In Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Bar Association (MBA) will present its first pro bono awards to local attorneys as part of the MBA’s annual State of the Courts luncheon on Oct. 21. That same day, the MBA’s Legal Services to the Indigent Committee will host a reception for young and new lawyers to familiarize them with the many options available for pro bono service.

    Marquette University Law School is joining the celebration by hosting with the Coalition for Access to Legal Resources a pro bono luncheon on Oct. 29 at the law school for law students, volunteers, and legal aid agencies. The following day, the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic will start a new free legal clinic at the Marquette Justice Center in the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

    These are just some of the events being planned. More are in the works as of this writing. There should be. There’s a lot to celebrate!

    For a continuously updated list of events, look to the State Bar’s Web site, www.wisbar.org/probono.