National Pro Bono Celebration
Sunday, October, 21, 2012, began the week-long activities of the National Pro Bono Celebration. “National Pro Bono Celebration focuses the nation's attention on the increased need for pro bono services during these challenging economic times and celebrates the outstanding work of lawyers who volunteer their services throughout the year. It is essential that the entire legal community engage in conversation and action that results in equal access to justice for all. The energy generated by the National Pro Bono Celebration is a powerful force that helps us build a just legal system,” said Laurel Bellows, American Bar Association president.
For the past three years, Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law has led the state of Alabama in Pro Bono Week activities. This would not be possible without the support of the many law students, faculty members, alumni and friends of the law school. Cassandra Adams, director of the Cumberland Community Mediation Center (CCMC) and Public Interest Project, oversees and coordinates Cumberland School of Law’s Pro Bono Celebration activities. Over the years, Adams has encouraged hundreds of law students to give back to the community by providing their services in both legal clinics and non-legal community improving and building projects such as Habitat for Humanity projects and food drives. These events happen not only during the month of October, but also during the rest of the year. In addition, Adams’ work with the CCMC has provided free mediations services to dozens of disputing parties, which have been recommended to the CCMC by the local court systems.
Although the National Pro Bono Celebration officially takes place the week of Oct. 21, Cumberland School of Law makes it a month-long celebration. Kicking of this year’s activities on September 27, the law school hosted Lisa W. Borden, pro bono shareholder at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C.; Kelli H. Mauro, executive director at Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program; and Bradley E. Byrne, staff attorney at Legal Services Alabama, for a lecture entitled “Serving the Public Interest: How Law Students Can Impact the Needs of Our Community.” This lecture was co-sponsored by the Cumberland Public Interest & Community Service Organization, a student-run group, and the law school’s Office of Career Development.
On October 4th, the law school’s Cordell Hull Speakers Forum hosted J.S. Christie Jr., partner at Bradley Arant Bolt Cummings for a lecture entitled “A New Trial for a Death Row Inmate.” The Cordell Hull Speakers Forum is named after former Secretary of State Cordell Hull, whom is an 1881 graduate of Cumberland School of Law.
One of the law school’s first legal clinics for this year's celebration, a Senior Wills Clinic at the Homewood, Ala. Senior Center, was the focus a recent news report on ABC 33/40, which can be found at this link, http://www.abc3340.com/video?clipId=7850603&autostart=true. In addition, other work performed by the CCMC was the focus of a Birmingham News article entitled “Birmingham Bar, Cumberland Mediation Center promote value of settling disputes out of court,” which can be found at this link, http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2012/09/birmingham_bar_cumberland_medi.html.
To learn more about the law school’s Pro Bono Celebration activities please visit the following link, http://cumberland.samford.edu/ccmc/pro-bono-week.