On Tuesday, two Memphis-area leaders proclaimed October as Pro Bono Month. The announcement came from Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and David McKinney, director of legislative affairs and assistant county attorney.
Pro bono, which is short for “pro bono publico,” is a Latin term meaning “for the public good.” Although the term is used in different contexts to mean “the offering of free services,” it has a very specific meaning to those in the legal profession. Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct state in part that a “lawyer should aspire to render at least 50 hours of pro bono publico legal services per year.” The first comment to that rule notes that every lawyer, “regardless of professional prominence or professional work load, has a responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay, and personal involvement in the problems of the disadvantaged can be one of the most rewarding experiences in the life of a lawyer.”
Upcoming events include:
- Oct. 8: Saturday Legal Clinic, 10 a.m.-noon at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Ave, Memphis. In honor of Pro Bono Month, “Access to Justice” will debut its rebrand as 2SLAC (2nd Saturday Legal Aid Clinic). October’s co-sponsors are the MBA Young Lawyers’ Division and Litigation Section.
- Oct. 11: Cossitt Library Pro Bono Clinic, 3-5 p.m. at the Cossitt Library, 33 S. Front St., Memphis. Local attorneys and law students are teaming up to provide free legal aid. Volunteers, lawyers and law students are welcome to volunteer. Sign up at bit.ly/cossittlibrary.
- Oct. 15: Justice for All Ball, 7-10 p.m. at the Halloran Centre, 225 S. Main St., Memphis. This exciting superhero-themed event benefits Memphis Area Legal Services. It will be a fun night with live music, a silent auction and more! For tickets and more, visit justiceforallball.org.
- Oct. 19: Legal Clinic Boot Camp, 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. at the MBA Offices, 145 Court Ave., #301, Memphis. Ever wanted to volunteer at one of the many legal clinics but were afraid that you didn’t know enough to give advice? Come to this seminar and learn the basics of what to advise clients in four of the most common areas encountered in the clinics. Register at bit.ly/legalclinicbootcamp.
- Oct. 20: Legal Clinic at Project Homeless Connect, 8:30a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Cook Convention Center, 255 N. Main St., Memphis. Community Alliance for the Homeless will host the Project Homeless Connect. Lawyers are needed to serve clients for the 8:30 a.m.-noon and noon-3:30 p.m. shifts or any available time. No follow-up representation is necessary; lunch and t-shirt will be provided. Contact Chris Martin at email@example.com.
- Oct. 22: Midtown Legal Clinic, 10 a.m.–noon at Idlewild Presbyterian Church, 1750 Union Ave., Memphis. Hosted by Memphis Area Legal Services and Idlewild Church. Volunteer legal professionals will be on hand to assist those in need for free with legal issues. This is a non-evangelical event; people of all beliefs are welcome. For any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Oct. 22: DACA Clinic, noon-4 p.m. at Latino Memphis, 6041 Mt. Moriah Rd., Memphis. Hosted by the Community Legal Center, Latino Memphis, Mid-South Immigration Advocates, Catholic Charities of West Tennessee and World Relief. The clinic will help children and young adults to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Volunteers needed to help applicants with forms, photocopying, translating etc. All welcome to volunteer experience or language skills not required. Volunteer training is at noon. Lunch will be served. Contact Emily Stotts at email@example.com or sign up at svy.mk/2dvcrja.
- Oct. 22: Wills for Heroes, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Ave., Memphis. Wills for Heroes clinics around the state provide free wills, powers of attorney and advance directives for Tennessee’s firefighters, law enforcement officers and other emergency responders. Contact Chasity Grice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- After October: Pro Bono opportunites don’t end in October. Every Thursday, Courthouse Advice, Counsel Clinic, and Mediator of the Day take place at the Shelby County Courthouse. Every second Tuesday, Veterans’ Pro Bono Clinic is held on Union. Visit bit.ly/mbapro bono for details. For more information or to get involved, e-mail email@example.com or visit memphisbar.org/public-resources/free-legal-advice.