Lawyers recognize pro bono week

Published 7:44 am Monday, October 26, 2009

By By Lisa Tindell
news editor

Facing legal problems is stressful enough, but facing those same problems without benefit of an attorney can be life altering. Alabama attorneys are joining this week to recognize the 2009 Pro Bono Week.
John Jernigan, a Brewton attorney, said he is part of a group of attorneys who want to help those in need.
State Bar President Thomas J. Methvin of Montgomery said the act of providing fee legal services can help improve the state of Alabama.
Jernigan said he is currently representing two clients on a pro bono basis and encourages other attorneys to join the cause.
A proclamation signed by Brewton Mayor Ted Jennings in recognition of the celebration week states that some 23 percent of Brewton citizens live in poverty.
The situation is particularly acute now as the recession has caused many financial problems to become legal problems and increasing numbers of the poor and disadvantaged are turning to legal aid programs because they have nowhere else to go, Jernigan said.
Methvin said the types of unresolved civil legal problems include women who are seeking protection from abuse, mothers trying to obtain child support or custody of their children, families who are facing unlawful eviction or foreclosure that could leave them homeless, and individuals who have lost their job and need unemployment benefits.
During the week of Oct. 25-31, lawyers across Alabama will join in a national observance and celebration of Pro Bono. Lawyers in each of the state’s 42 judicial circuits will participate in events like conducting free legal clinics offering advice and counsel in areas such as elder and family law; discussing with community and civic groups the critical need for the Legislature to provide a continuous stream of funding for legal services, and recruiting additional lawyers to volunteer to provide pro bono service.
Attorneys who are members of the volunteer lawyers program in Escambia County are Jernigan, Everette Price, Eric Coale and Shirley Darby.