The importance of pro bono work in providing professional development opportunities cannot be overstated. Beyond providing a free service in the community and doing some good for the world, attorneys are given the chance to take cases that may not be available to them in a traditional legal setting. Legal Aid of the Bluegrass sought to boost the participation of attorneys in its volunteer lawyer programs and engage them in a way that ensured professionals would continue to take pro bono cases well into their careers. One of the groups targeted by LABG for pro bono was young attorneys.
A small group of young legal professionals were surveyed to find out what they knew about Legal Aid of the Bluegrass (LABG), how they were being engaged by the NKY legal community and what would encourage them to participate in pro bono programs. The results were consistent across the board. Young lawyers seek opportunities to be mentored and empowered. “What we were hearing was that young attorneys aren’t yet comfortable with their abilities, so they look for safe ways that they can get more experience and network with other legal professionals” says Joshua Crabtree, Executive Director of LABG. In response, Legal Aid of the Bluegrass presents Legal Aid University, a series of 6 courses designed to guide young attorneys in representing civil legal clients.
Starting in February, Legal Aid of the Bluegrass will offer quarterly courses focused on providing young attorneys with practical information and resources. If a young professional completes all 6 courses, attends a pro bono recognition event and takes a pro bono case, they graduate from Legal Aid University. Graduation is envisioned to be a prestigious distinction and will be coupled with other fun incentives.
Legal Aid University Overview: Course One: Dissolutions Course Two: Domestic Violence Course Three: Forcible Detainer Course Four: Wills/Power of Attorney Course Five: Removing Barriers: Expungements Course Six: Public Benefits
Course one, ‘Nuts & Bolts of Dissolution’ (2.00 credits approved by the Kentucky Bar Association), will be held on Thursday, February 25th from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Covington branch of the Kenton County Public Library. Participants will hear from Legal Aid staff that specialize in dissolutions and receive materials they can take into their own practice. A reception will be hosted after the event to offer the opportunity to network with other young legal professionals in Northern Kentucky. To register for this free event, e-mail Jillian Beach at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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