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Graphic: DC Pro Bono Week 2021

DC Pro Bono Week 2021: Eventful & Inspiring

That’s a wrap on DC Pro Bono Week 2021! But the increased legal need for pro bono lawyers continues beyond Pro Bono Week. As we move into the next phase of the pandemic recovery, the unprecedented legal needs crisis will only increase. Now is the time to volunteer your time to help a neighbor in need. As lawyers, we have a duty and obligation to help bridge the access to justice gap. Whether it’s by taking on a pro bono case, volunteering for an advice and referral clinic, contributing to systemic advocacy, or financially supporting a legal services organization, we can all do something for the public good.

Thank you to our DC Pro Bono Week planning committee, the many experts who brought their wisdom and experiences to our discussions, the pro bono mentors who helped new volunteers provide legal advice to the many who otherwise would not have the benefit of their expertise, and everyone who made DC Pro Bono Week possible. We celebrate and send a special thank you to all the lawyers and law students who are helping their neighbors this week and every week through pro bono. We are grateful for their continued service and for sharing their fulfilling and inspiring pro bono experiences.

This year, we featured extraordinary pro bono advocates in our 2021 Pro Bono Profiles. These lawyers and new projects are shining examples of how individuals can make a real and lasting difference in the lives of their clients,  and how teams can leverage their collective skills, time, and knowledge to impact families, seniors, and perhaps the entire system of immigration detention.

We also offered a wide range of events and DC Pro Bono Week programs. We kicked off the week with Pro Bono Goes Local, where D.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby and D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Josey-Herring discussed the importance of pro bono lawyers and then we discussed the most vital needs in the District right now and how you can help. On Monday, we talked about how pro bono representation has changed with the use of virtual platforms and how you can adapt, then we discussed algorithmic justice and how you can combat the disparities caused by AI and other technology tools at Coding Justice. Tuesday, we came together to celebrate pro bono at the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center’s Pro Bono Partnership Luncheon featuring Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. Wednesday brought discussions of how pro bono can advance environmental justice, and separately how you can help with the coming eviction crisis, Thursday saw our conversation about meeting clients where they are east of the river, and on Friday we discussed how to help students in DC public schools access the resources and services they need through pro bono representation.

The primary focus of DC Pro Bono Week is the opportunities to serve. Volunteers helped immigrants at the Immigration Consultation Clinic, small businesses at the Small Business Brief Advice Clinic, individuals with criminal records at the Expungement Clinic, parents seeking tax credits at the Parents’ Tax Workshop and Clinic, and vets during the Veterans Consortium Legal Muster Pop Up Clinics. Throughout, we discovered ways to get involved, volunteer, and create positive change.

Catch up on any of the programs with the following recordings:

Pro Bono Goes Local; passcode .^70s1@q (the period is part of the passcode)

Pro Bono in a Virtual Age: A Conversation with KIND, Legal Aid Society and Bread for the City: no passcode required

Coding Justice; passcode Lk@8fp1r

Pro Bono Partnership Luncheon; no passcode required

The Coming Eviction Crisis and How We Can Help; passcode t^7h7ii$

Advancing Environmental Justice & Climate Change Through Pro Bono Initiatives; no passcode required

Pro Bono Goes to School: Closing the Gap in Public Education; passcode I*^f0XM8

For even more information, check out the event summaries on our Pro Bono Publico Blog. There you will find lists of resources and ways to volunteer in a variety of practices and settings.

Keep the momentum going on social media using #DCProBono21 and by doing what you can to support pro bono.

Thank you for a great DC Pro Bono Week 2021!

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