There are many occasions to take a critical look at access to justice issues and to challenge why we aren't doing better as a society and as a legal profession in meeting current access to justice needs. Striving to achieve equal access to justice and engaging legal professionals in these efforts should be a constant pursuit. It also is necessary to reflect on the accomplishments we have achieved and energize the legal profession's participation in improving access to justice and delivering pro bono legal services.
Raising awareness and celebrating pro bono efforts serves a number of purposes: it highlights the need for increased funding, it connects individuals and organizations in need of legal services to lawyers able to provide them, it augments the image of the legal profession, and it energizes legal professionals. Many jurisdictions offer annual celebrations that inform the public and celebrate the pro bono work lawyers are doing while also trying to engage and activate further participation by lawyers. In Canada, we host bi-annual conferences (www.probonoconference.ca) and also engage in national pro bono week celebrations (www.probonoweekcanada.ca). Our colleagues in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom also have similar celebrations. National pro bono celebrations provide the opportunity to reflect on the values of the legal profession and celebrate ongoing pro bono efforts while challenging the legal profession to do more. Do others have examples of pro bono celebrations and awareness raising events of this nature?
Chair, Canadian Bar Association Pro Bono Committee