President's Page by Renee Ezer
One of my favorite annual professional events is the BCLS Pro Bono Luncheon. It’s not just a chance to run into colleagues I don’t regularly see (though I do love this aspect of it). I think it’s the fact that what brings us all together is a common thread that runs through each of us and our practices – that we value the contribution of pro bono hours to make a difference and to provide access to justice to clients who otherwise couldn’t afford to pay for it, and that we celebrate those among us who provide them.
Pro bono service strengthens our community by helping those in need and provides us with a unique kind of satisfaction not otherwise available in most traditional practices. It’s an annual reminder to me of things that are important, and an opportunity to reconnect with the community that shares my values.
Awards presented by 20th JD magistrates and judges, as well as Supreme Court justices, are given to those who contributed many pro bono hours, as well as those who contributed just a few, on the right case at the right time, to make a big difference. It feels good to be among many of the hundreds of lawyers who have represented BCLS clients over the last 43 years. The speakers and awards inspire me. For me, this is a “don’t miss” event.
During 2017, attorneys from the volunteer panel of approximately 250 attorneys volunteered a total of 2,765 hours. This included private attorneys, attorneys volunteering in-house at BCLS, and attorneys volunteering for the weekly BCLS Pro Se Program. Other volunteers, including paralegal client intake interviewers, law students, and office volunteers, contributed 1,267 hours. The combined total of volunteer hours was 4,032, with an in-kind value of $807,091. This outstanding volunteer support made it possible for BCLS, with a staff of only three, to serve a total of 778 clients in 2017.
This year I’m excited to introduce the BCLS intern to receive the first Paul Bierbaum Fellowship award at the BCLS Pro Bono Luncheon. Paul Bierbaum was an extraordinary man and attorney, who wore his passion for justice and equality throughout his life on his sleeve. He touched thousands of people with his generous spirit and commitment to public service. His untimely death nearly three years ago was a tremendous loss to the entire community. The BCBA Board of Directors recently created this fellowship to honor Paul’s memory, and to alive the exemplary public service which made him iconic in the Boulder Bar.
I hope to see many of you at the luncheon on April 30th. Contact BCLS at 303-449-2197 if you’d like register to attend.