PRO BONO NEWS
ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law Selects the Pro Bono Project of New Orleans for Francis Perkins Public Service Award
The ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law presented the 2008 Frances Perkins Public Service Award to the Pro Bono Project of New Orleans during their 2008 Annual CLE Conference in Denver. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Pro Bono Project of New Orleans established the Employment Law Program to address the needs of the immigrant construction workers, many of whom are non-English-speaking, who came to New Orleans to help rebuild that city. Many of these workers did not receive the minimum wage or overtime pay, and were otherwise subjected to illegal employment practices. Notwithstanding severe budgetary constraints, the decrease in the number of lawyers practicing in New Orleans and the significant damage to the practices of those lawyers who remained, the Pro Bono Project of New Orleans has had significant success in recruiting lawyers to represent abused workers and in obtaining redress for those workers. In its first year of operation, the Employment Law Program has served 332 clients and has developed working relationships with law schools and other organizations that are attempting to provide vital services to this population of workers.
FRANCES PERKINS PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD
The need for pro bono services in the labor and employment area is acute. Questions relating to labor and employment law account for more than a quarter of the issues raised in many pro bono programs. The American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law wants to acknowledge individuals, firms, corporate and union legal departments, government agencies, and other organizations who help meet this crucial need.
As a result, in 2003, the Section established the Frances Perkins Public Service Award (Award). The Award recognizes individuals or organizations that demonstrate a significant commitment to providing pro bono legal services primarily in the areas of labor and employment law to persons of limited means or to nonprofit, governmental, civic, community or religious organizations designed primarily to address the needs of individuals with limited means.
Click here to find out more about the Perkins Award, requirements for nomination, and profiles of past recipients.
NOTARIAL SERVICES PRO BONO NETWORK
The Section is sponsoring a project to address a problem in New Orleans. The project is aimed at establishing a network of lawyers throughout the country who will be available to provide notarial services out of state to those who face homelessness in in New Orleans, including those made homeless by Katrina. These individuals need to have proof of identity in order to be admitted to a shelter, the most common of which is a birth certificate. However, individuals born outside of Louisiana face additional obstacles in obtaining their birth certificates. For many years, New Orleans attorneys provided these services on a pro bono basis. Where an applicant was born outside Louisiana, a local attorney would locate a lawyer in the state of birth to assist them. Because of the substantial damage to their practices and lives, the New Orleans bar can use our assistance in meeting this need. Although the list of attorneys currently participating is growing, the project could use your participation. If you are interested in helping out, please contact one of the chairs through the links in the right panel or Section Assistant Jim Jones for more information.