Who: You! Everyone is invited
What: 2015 Barristers Benefit Ball
When: Saturday, April 25
Where: Marriott City Center, 1701 California Street, Denver, CO
Why: The Barristers Benefit Ball comes every spring. This year’s event, themed “Fire and Ice,” will be a night to remember! If you haven’t been before, or are wondering what it’s all about—and why this enormous fundraising effort takes place every year—read this article.
The DBA supports Metro Volunteer Lawyers (MVL) as its pro bono program. MVL’s mission is “To bridge the gap in access to justice by coordinating the provision of pro bono legal services by volunteer lawyers within the Denver Metro Area to people who could not otherwise afford legal services for their civil legal issues.”
The Barristers Benefit Ball is MVL’s biggest annual fundraiser.
Proceeds from the event are a vital portion of its annual funding. MVL also receives support from the Henry Hall Memorial Golf Tournament; Colorado Legal Services (CLS); the Colorado Lawyer Trust Account Foundation; the Fred & Jean Allegretti Foundation; Lois Ann Rovira, in honor and memory of her husband, former Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Luis Rovira; and private donations.
MVL provides its clients free and low-cost legal services through six programs: direct referrals to individual attorneys for representation, the Family Law Court Program; the post-decree clinics; and the Rovira Scholar special programs such as the clinical adoption, the fostering success, and the POA programs; and the legal clinic at the Denver Indian Center.
Expanding MVL services and studying new ways to operate is an ongoing and satisfying endeavor. MVL was especially proud to have the Colorado Attorney General’s Office become a sponsor firm in 2013, enabling MVL to include two additional post-decree clinic locations to its schedule.
MVL has experienced a significant loss of COLTAF funds due to the consistent lack of growth or replenishment of the funds. In addition, the overall shrinking of funds for CLS impacts MVL, and the resulting shortfall of funds for pro bono programs that serve as an additional safety net to those unable to be served by CLS only adds to the crisis. Any increase in the per capita contributions from our local bar associations, private funders, and Barristers Benefit Ball sponsors and attendees are welcomed and greatly appreciated.
The MVL staff is a small team that works with volunteers and interns to ensure that they are in touch with their partners and the legal community at large. In 2013, MVL had 588 volunteer attorneys handle 1,850 MVL cases and assist several clinical clients. The majority of cases are domestic relations matters. Other common case types include consumer, bankruptcy, landlord tenant, real estate, wills/POA, guardianships, conservatorships, probate, and tax issues. Without its donors and volunteers who give their money, time, and skill, MVL could not have helped so many people in need.
The funds raised through the Barristers Benefit Ball help MVL maintain its programs and pay its operating expenses, both of which are vital to sustaining and expanding its capacity to serve our community.
MVL is always recruiting more attorneys who practice in the Denver Metro area to join its volunteer panel. By providing much needed pro bono legal services, MVL’s volunteer lawyers, law students, and other legal professionals provide access to justice and help stabilize families, save taxpayers money, reduce the number of cases clogging the courts, and help people move toward self-sufficiency and full participation in society.
To learn more, volunteer, or donate, please visit metrovolunteerlawyers.org.
By Nathan Lucero, a current MVL Board member who works for the City and County of Denver, and his practice areas include Land Use/Zoning, Parks and Recreation and Environmental Law.