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Pro bono legal services offered Nov. 13

Published 9:38pm Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The City of Demopolis was the first municipality in the State of Alabama to proclaim Oct. 25-31 as Pro Bono Week, a week in which attorneys statewide provide free services to those unable to afford a lawyer.

“The goal of Pro Bono Week is to educate the public about the extensive work that Alabama lawyers are doing, donating their time to improve the lives of vulnerable members of our community,” according to a release issued by the Alabama State Bar Pro Bono Celebration Task Force. “We hope to encourage more individuals in the legal community to get involved in pro bono work and financial support the legal aid system.”

“Pro bono” is a Latin phrase meaning “for the good,” and refers to work done by professionals for no fee or for a greatly reduced fee.

The week will feature legal aid clinics, recruitment and recognition events and service projects throughout the state, helping lawyers and law students make volunteer connections with legal aid organizations.

“There is a bar services program on Friday, Nov. 13, at the Demopolis Civic Center,” said Demopolis attorney Scott Stapp. “There will be local lawyers on hand to answer questions of anybody, and it’s all open and free to the public.”

Demopolis native Alyce Manley Spruell, the president-elect of the Alabama Bar Association, played an active part in getting Demopolis to be the first city in Alabama this year to proclaim Pro Bono Week.

“Regretfully, we are the state that gives the least to funding pro bono legal representation,” she said in an interview last July. “We are trying to emphasize not only that our membership do more in its volunteering, but also that the state citizenry understand and support the need for this.”

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