Celebrating Our National Celebration of Pro Bono Participants

RENO, Nev. (Mynews4.com & KRNV) — The American Bar Association is offering free legal aid this week across the state of Nevada, including the Reno area.

This October 26th news piece went on to showcase some terrific legal clinics being offered in Reno, Las Vegas and other Nevada communities during the 2015 National Celebration of Pro Bono. Though the lead is flattering, and brings great PR to the ABA, it wasn’t exactly accurate. It got me thinking.

As we come to the end of the seventh ABA-sponsored National Celebration of Pro Bono I’m reflecting back on a decision made by the Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service at the very beginning of the initiative. Faced with a choice of actively and strongly promoting the Celebration of Pro Bono as an American Bar Association event or letting go of the reins and allowing it to grow and develop locally as appropriate for each community, the Committee chose the latter.

Pro Bono Committee staff work hard each year to provide resources, strategies, ideas, promotional products and technical assistance (see: http://www.celebrateprobono.org) but the Celebration of Pro Bono is successful, and always has been, because of the leadership and commitment made at a statewide and local level.

This year, under the leadership of ABA President Paulette Brown, an important new element was added to the Celebration – And Justice for All: An ABA Day of Service. The added incentive and role modeling provided by President Brown resulted in more interest, excitement and events than ever. But, none of that would have happened without the leadership and commitment made at a statewide and local level.

With more data to be entered we are currently showing over 525 different entities which have sponsored events and more than 800 events scheduled for the 2015 National Celebration of Pro Bono. Yes, the ABA’s Pro Bono Committee is honored to have created a construct through which this energy could be channeled. And, MyNews4.com and KRNV, thanks for the shout-out! Ultimately though, communities across America are better because of your efforts to Celebrate (praise, commend, promote, honor, stimulate, enhance) Pro Bono in response to statewide and local needs. Thank you for Celebrating with us this year.

Mary Ryan is chair of the ABA Standing Comittee on Pro Bono and Public Service.

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