For Immediate Release
Krista Scully, Alaska Bar Association, 907-272-7469
Mark Morones, Department of Law, 907-269-6393
Attorney General's Office and Alaska Bar Association Respond to Need For Pro Bono Attorneys
Anchorage, AK - December 8, 2005 - The Alaska Attorney General and Alaska Bar Association jointly announced the release of a Department of Law policy for increased pro bono work to assist in achieving equal access to justice for low-income Alaskans.
The policy has existed for several years; however, given the recent funding cuts to legal service programs in Alaska, more people are in need than ever before. The Department of Law has seized the opportunity to assist those in need by developing partnerships with legal service providers that host volunteer programs that deliver free legal clinics, a domestic violence legal information hotline, and direct case representation to pro bono clients. "I am re-issuing the Department of Law pro bono policy with the hope that it will bring increased awareness and support of the various opportunities that exist for all department employees to engage in pro bono legal services and volunteer activities", stated Attorney General Márquez. "I encourage all employees to strive to find additional time and ways to share their professional expertise with persons of limited means in their community."
The need for equal justice access in Alaska is acute. According to the Alaska Supreme Court Civil Access to Justice Task Force Report, approximately 50% of Alaska's 80,000 low-income citizens will face a legal need in any given year. The creation of a strong policy of encouraging and supporting the pro bono work of the public sector work force is a significant call to action and responsibility. "The Rules of Professional Conduct encourage all attorneys to donate at least 50 hours of pro bono service each year. The Alaska Bar Association very much appreciates the leadership and dedication of Attorney General Márquez and the Department of Law in their efforts to promote and facilitate equal justice for low-income Alaskans," said Alaska Bar Association Board of Governor's President, Jonathon A. Katcher of Anchorage.
The Alaska Bar Association, founded in 1896, is a non-profit organization and one of 14 unified bar associations in the United States administering admissions, discipline and continuing legal education.
For more information on the Alaska Bar Association, call 907-272-7469 or visit the website at www.alaskabar.org.