To the editor:
We grew up thinking of America as the wealthiest country on earth, but the truth is that one of every eight Alabama citizens lives in poverty, unable to pay for the basic necessities of life – food, shelter, clothing. Approximately one in four of Alabama’s children are currently living in poverty.
In every aspect of their lives, 80 percent of the legal needs of this state’s poor are unmet. While we have created programs to provide those basic needs for our poorer neighbors, too often, those of limited means lose the advantage because they don’t have lawyers to unlock those benefits.
The pro bono assistance of Alabama’s lawyers is often the only thing standing between our state’s poor and hunger, homelessness, violence, and abuse. During National Pro Bono Week, October 21-27, members of the Alabama State Bar’s Volunteer Lawyers Program will provide free civil legal advice, counsel and, if necessary, representation to the poor and homeless veterans.
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.
We are proud of the fact that Alabama “Lawyers Render Service” in their communities.
Phillip W. McCallum, President
Alabama State Bar