National Pro Bono Week And DBA Access To Justice Committee



housands of indigent Denver residents need critical legal help — they need a divorce, protection from an abuser, a stay for eviction before being homeless, a visitation with their child they haven’t seen in years, or help to hold off foreclosure or debtors’ threats. They struggle and are often forced to try to resolve these complex legal problems on their own. Lawyers have a special professional obligation to ensure that our justice system is accessible to everyone and the need for attorney volunteers and pro bono service grows each day.

The Denver Access to Justice (ATJ) Committee would like to acknowledge National Pro Bono Week as a time to thank members of the Denver legal community who donate thousands of hours in free legal services at clinics, programs and other nonprofit organizations that serve Denver’s disadvantaged; and to those volunteers who take cases from Colorado Legal Services, the District of Colorado Civil Pro Bono Panel and Metro Volunteer Lawyers in Denver. The week is dedicated to encouraging more pro bono volunteers to meet the ever-growing legal needs of this country’s most vulnerable citizens.

The Denver legal community has a long tradition of helping to fill these gaps in our community. There are many hands at work to make a difference. The DBA ATJ Committee has developed legal clinics, including bankruptcy, divorce and family custody clinic. The ATJ Committee leads community events throughout the year such as Lawline 9, a monthly call-in program at 9News; Homeless Veteran Stand-down; and sponsors Legal Nights with the Colorado Lawyers Committee and the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association. The DBA ATJ Committee works closely with many other important pro bono entities. For example, the ATJ Committee collaborates with the Colorado Bar Associations’ Colorado Lawyers for Colorado Veterans programs, which assist financially-eligible Veterans who are identified at clinical programs as needing civil legal representation. The ATJ Committee also works with Metro Volunteer Lawyers (MVL), the pro bono program of the Denver Bar Association, providing civil legal services to those in need in Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin and Jefferson counties. MVL continues their clinic work in areas of post-decree clinics for domestic abuse, Denver Indian Center Clinic and their Power of Attorney Workshop. Finally, the ATJ Committee supports the work of the Colorado Poverty Law Project (CPLP), a non-profit organization with the mission to assemble and coordinate volunteer attorneys to participate in a monthly pro bono legal clinic at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH). CPLP provides resources to enable volunteers, at their discretion, to provide a range of services to attendees, including answering on-the-spot questions, providing referrals and, if appropriate, providing limited representation.

The annual National Pro Bono Celebration is scheduled for October 21 through 27, 2018. Sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, the celebration is a coordinated national effort to showcase the great difference that pro bono lawyers make to the nation, its system of justice, its communities and to the clients they serve.

In honor of Pro Bono Week, the Denver Bar Association Access to Justice Committee and the Pro Bono Week Co-Chairs, Aurora Randolph and Katie Steefel, have selected 10 lawyers who were nominated by the Denver legal community because of their commitment to pro bono. The DBA will highlight the 10 selected lawyers in the via social media during pro bono week. All 10 lawyers will receive a small gift and will be celebrated at an event on Friday, October 26, 2018 at Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell starting at 4:30 p.m. U.S. Magistrate Judge Kato Crews will be giving opening remarks. The event will celebrate all pro bono work in the Denver community and will briefly recognize these 10 lawyers. There will also be ways for attendees to become involved in the pro bono work being done across Denver. Appetizers and drinks will be provided at this free event. D

To register for this free event or find out how you can become involved in pro bono efforts, email Carolyn at cgravit@cobar.org.


Carolyn P. Gravit
Director, Public Legal Education