Denver Bar Association
October 2011
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From the President - The DBA Pro Bono Initiative: A Potential New Service for Our Members

by Ilene Lin Bloom

From the President -- The DBA Pro Bono Initiative: A Potential New Service for Our Members

 Ilene Bloom, DBA President


s I discussed in last month’s column, access to justice is a core value of our profession, and it is clear to me that all members can make an impact on our community by volunteering our legal skills. In recognition of this important value, the Denver Bar Association is analyzing whether it should offer a new member service through which it will assist individual members in identifying pro bono opportunities that suit the individual’s needs. To do this, the bar would like to work one-on-one with our members. Ideas being considered include having a dedicated staff member, intern, or volunteer who is trained to help members find a pro bono matter that is right for them. Members may be able to receive such assistance via phone, in person, or online. The bar also is looking at putting our members in contact with "pro bono experts"—lawyers who are knowledgeable in a particular area of the law who can be available to talk with other bar members about unfamiliar legal and practical aspects of a pro bono client’s issues.


How This Potential Service Can Help Our Members

The idea behind the DBA Pro Bono Initiative is to provide a source of information and assistance to support, encourage, facilitate, and expand the delivery of pro bono work, and help members connect with opportunities that meet their needs. A few firms in our community may have pro bono coordinators who can help its attorneys find a suitable pro bono case, but most do not. This leaves most of our busy members on their own to try and navigate the pro bono world. It can be very time consuming to find a case that suits an individual attorney’s needs in terms of subject matter, time commitment, and specific competencies. The DBA Pro Bono Initiative would seek to help its members in the following ways: 

Education on Pro Bono Opportunities

One of the goals of this service is to educate our members on the full range of available pro bono matters in our community. Many members may not know all the types of pro bono matters that exist in our community. Whether you prefer to do impact litigation or direct client service, staff a Legal Night for a few hours a month or take on your own case, assist a particular client group or work in a specific area of law, this service would seek to get you started by educating you on the opportunities available.  

Time Saving

The idea behind the proposed service would be to save members time and effort in locating a suitable pro bono opportunity. Instead of having to consult with multiple legal aid organizations about what is available and how the organization helps its volunteers, a member could now consult with one person through the DBA who could help match them up with the right organization for a specific type of pro bono case or opportunity.  

Help Create a Positive Pro Bono Experience

The DBA and I would like to help members realize the core value of access to justice by developing a service that members would use and then make it readily available. Because volunteering is such a personal endeavor, it is very important that any experience our members have doing pro bono is a positive one. To help make this happen, I want to help our members find pro bono matters or opportunities that suit their individual interests and needs. My hope is that your first, or your next, pro bono matter will be as rewarding to you as it is to the client you serve.

The DBA has surveyed members about such a service and I will share the results with you in a future column. Also, please feel free to email me directly with your feedback on this idea, along with any questions or suggestions you may have to make this service user-friendly or any other things you wish the DBA would do to facilitate pro bono service work. I can be reached at or (303) 886-9783. Special thanks to Michelle Ferguson for her assistance with this column. D

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