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WCBA Provides Pro Bono Services

The Washington County Bar Association is to be complemented for its charitable work in 2009 benefiting area institutions and residents.
According to the WCBA, the association, composed of members of the legal community, performed the following pro bono activities (free services provided during the year “for the public good or welfare”):
• Participated in the state wide pro bono public service day known as “Justice 4-All” by volunteering legal services to low income individuals on April 4, 2009 at the offices of Legal Aid of East Tennessee. 
As a result, 43 people were assisted in more than 20 areas of law.  In addition to the lawyers who volunteered, the staff of LAET and several interpreters donated their time to this project.
• Held a Pro Bono Public Service day for a second time on Aug. 15, 2009, at the offices of Legal Aid of East Tennessee, during which 33 people were assisted in more than 10 areas of law and from which several attorneys agreed to accept pro bono matters for further assistance.
• Implemented a monthly legal clinic on the first Saturday of each month at The Good Samaritan Ministries to continue providing volunteer legal services to low income members of our community.
•  Formed the Committee to Develop Legal Assistance and through that committee created The Circuit and Chancery Court Pro-Se Clinic which is now functioning each month. 
Attorneys volunteer to appear in court on the scheduled dates of the program to meet with unrepresented individuals on the docket for assistance within certain parameters.   
In support of this program, the WCBA purchased a laptop with wireless capability, and a printer for use in drafting simple documents. 
• Participated in the Legal Aid of East Tennessee Phone-A-Thon in December 2009
• Created the C.A.R.E Campaign (Caring Attorneys Reaching Everyone). 
This charitable drive took place over a three month period. Each month was designated for gifts to be given to a recipient organization.  Over the course of the drive, the WCBA through donations from the members of the bar and their assistants:
* Donated the equivalent of more than 22,000 pounds of food to Second Harvest Food Bank;
*Donated more than 1,500 pieces of clothing for children to the Salvation Army; and
*Donated more than 350 wish-list items for use at Niswonger Children’s Hospital.
Lawyers and the legal system are often criticized. Because of the sometimes controversial nature of legal work, the public does not always understand that these professional also seek to improve the welfare of the communities in which they live and work.
The WCBA’s efforts in 2009 remind us of the positive contribution to society this segment of the community can have. Kudos to those individuals who took part in these activities. We hope to see similar reports for 2010.