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October 19th, 2010
Pro Bono Week celebrated by bar association with presentation

STAFF REPORT

The Hays County Bar Association recently passed a resolution recognizing National Pro Bono Week, which takes place Oct. 24-30. The association will celebrate the week by sponsoring a presentation by Pablo Almaguer on Oct. 29 at Grins Restaurant, 802 North LBJ Drive,  from noon to 1 p.m.

Almaguer is the Private Attorney Involvement Group Coordinator for Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid and Chair of the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors.

The presentation, “Community Justice Program: A New Pro Bono Model,” is free and open to anyone interested in learning about volunteer opportunities for assisting low-income and disadvantaged individuals meet their legal needs.

Legal assistants, clerks, and anyone who has time to contribute to the pro bono effort, especially those who can speak Spanish, are encouraged to come.

Attorneys will receive one hour of continuing legal education credit for attendance with at least 0.5 ethics credit pending approval.

The presentation seeks to be the first step to bring legal aid to Hays County, beginning with a free divorce clinic for low-income individuals and hopes for the addition of other legal services in the future.

Pro Bono week is sponsored by the American Bar Association and is a coordinated national effort to meet the needs the country’s most vulnerable citizens by encouraging and supporting local efforts to expand pro bono legal services. The association also seeks to highlight the difference that pro bono lawyers make to the nation, the system of justice, the community and the clients they serve.

According to the resolution of the Hays County Bar Association proclaiming Pro Bono Week, there are 5.3 million people in Texas who qualify for legal aid, with around only 20 to 25 percent receiving it due to lack of resources.

It also states that while there are approximately 372 total attorneys in Hays County, only two are members of the Pro Bono College, yet 455 legal aid cases were closed in Hays County in 2008.

For more information on the event, call Lori Lynelle Gosnell at (512) 392-5865.

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