Commission adopts resolution

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, October 21, 2015

By Stephanie Nelson

The Escambia County Commission recently adopted a resolution declaring the month of October as Pro Bono Month in the county.

The resolution was presented by Commissioner David Stokes to Escambia Bar President Charles Johns Jr.

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“Providing access to justice for those who cannot afford it levels the playing field. When we improve access to the state’s courts we are actually helping Alabama families help themselves,” Johns said.

According to a press release, the need for pro bono work is essential now because of the situation regarding the lingering recession, which has caused many financial problems to morph into legal problems. Additionally, there have been significant cuts in state funded programs, including the judicial system, increasing numbers of the poor and disadvantaged, and indeed persons from all walks of life, are turning to legal aid programs because they have nowhere else to go.

Johns said the types of unresolved legal problems include women who are seeking protection from abuse, mothers trying to obtain child support or custody of their children, families who are facing unlawful eviction or foreclosure that could leave them homeless, and individuals who have lost their job, home or property, and need unemployment benefits.

During the month, lawyers in each of the state’s 42 judicial circuits will participate in events such as conducting free legal clinics offering advice and counsel in areas such as elder and family law; discussing with community and civic groups the critical need for the Legislature to provide a continuous stream of funding for legal services; and recruiting additional lawyers to volunteer to provide pro bono service.

This special event is being co-sponsored by the Escambia County Bar and the 16,000-member Alabama State Bar, which is dedicated to improving the administration of justice and increasing public understanding of and respect for the law.

The Escambia County Bar is sponsoring a Pro Bono Clinic on Oct. 29, from 9 a.m. until noon, and 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., at the Escambia County Courthouse in courtroom N. 3.