Governor Mead Proclaims October 25-31 Pro Bono Week
The Wyoming State Bar and Equal Justice Wyoming announced that the week of October 25 – 31, 2015, has been designated as Pro Bono Week by issue of a proclamation from Governor Matt Mead. The Governor signed the proclamation on Friday, October 16, 2015, at 9:45 a.m. in his office.
Pro Bono Week focuses on the work of attorneys and legal professionals who have taken on civil legal cases at no cost and have donated their time to help citizens who may not otherwise have access to legal assistance. The week-long celebration works to educate the public on these pro bono efforts made by Wyoming lawyers and lawyers across the country. Currently, there are more than 136 attorneys in Wyoming who are enrolled in pro bono programs statewide.
There will be a number of pro bono events throughout Wyoming during Pro Bono Week 2015. Among them are:
- The University of Wyoming College of Law Students for Equal Justice student organization will be hosting a free legal advice clinic in Laramie in partnership with Equal Justice Wyoming on October 26, 2015. Volunteer attorneys will be available to offer free civil legal advice from 5pm to 7pm.
- Equal Justice Wyoming will be offering a free legal fair at the First United Methodist Church in Cheyenne from 5pm to 7pm on October 27, 2015. The legal fair will include classes on small claims court, landlord/tenant issues, debt collection and abusive practices, and the importance of creating a will. Volunteer attorneys will also be available for free civil legal advice, and other legal service providers will be in attendance to provide information and offer the public legal help.
- Free legal advice clinics will also be offered around the state sponsored by local bar associations and legal aid providers. Advice clinics will be held in Casper, Gillette, Lander, Rawlins, and Rock Springs sponsored by Legal Aid of Wyoming, Inc. Advice clinics will also be held in Sheridan and Jackson sponsored by the Sheridan and Teton County Bar Associations.
- For a full list and details of events around the state, visit the calendar of events at www.legalhelp.wy.gov.
Wyoming State Bar President Devon O’Connell of Laramie, is among those attorneys who have dedicated time to pro bono work. “Pro bono service should be approached as a moral obligation to serve those who are in need of our help,” O’Connell said.
While legal aid programs in Wyoming have expanded over the years, the need for pro bono services is still great. In Wyoming, approximately 175,000 residents financially qualify for civil legal aid services. An American Bar Association study estimates that approximately 80% of the legal needs of the poor remain unmet. There is a large gap in the ability of low-income individuals to access the services of an attorney.
Due to the significant efforts of Equal Justice Wyoming and the Access to Justice Commission, there has been much progress in expanding legal services and resources throughout Wyoming. In fact, the number of individuals receiving direct legal assistance from an attorney continues to substantially increase
To view the community calendar of legal aid events, visit http://www.legalhelpwy.org/index.php/self-help/calendar-of-classes/.
Any questions regarding Pro Bono Week should be directed to Chris Jorgenson, Staff Attorney/Pro Bono Coordinator for Equal Justice Wyoming, at (307) 777-8383 or Cathy Duncil, Pro Bono Coordinator for the Wyoming State Bar, at (307) 432-2105.