Attorneys declare Pro Bono Week

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Attorneys with the Escambia County Bar Association will be celebrating Pro Bono Week later this month.
Brewton Mayor Ted Jennings has signed a proclamation declaring the week of Oct. 23-29 as Pro Bono Week.
According to the proclamation, one out of four of the 940,872 Alabamians who live in poverty has experienced legal problems. The majority of those civil problems are consumer issues (creditor, harassment, utility non-payment, bankruptcy issues), health issues (Medicaid, government insurance, nursing home), family law issues (divorce, child support/custody, abuse), employment issues (unemployment benefits, pension, lost job), and housing issues (unsatisfactory repairs, foreclosure, eviction, poor living conditions).
Also, according to the mayor’s office, 12.6 percent of the citizens in Brewton live in poverty and there are fewer than 55 paid legal aid lawyers to serve the low-income households in the whole state of Alabama.
Each year the Alabama State Bar and its Pro Bono Celebration Task Force, with the help of local bar associations statewide sets aside some time to offer Pro Bono help for the low-income families.
This year, Oct. 23-29 has been designated as Pro Bono Week. The Escambia County Bar Association and the Alabama State Bar will sponsor a free legal clinic to those who are low-income. The clinic will be held during the week of Oct. 23-29 on the third floor of the Escambia County Courthouse from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 26 and Oct 27, Attorneys from the Escambia County Bar Association will be available to provide free legal advice and, if services are required, refer the client the Volunteer Lawyers Program of the Alabama State Bar, which provides free legal services for low-income families. In addition, the Alabama State Bar has a Wills for Heroes Program, where policemen, firemen, or veterans who do not have a will, may stop by for a free will.
The proclamation also stated that 38 percent of the members of the Escambia County legal community donate their time and talents in free legal service each year, and there is still a huge unmet need for legal assistance for the disadvantaged in the area.