Last updated November 16, 2020
Pro Bono in a Pandemic: 2020 POWER Act (Downloadable PDF)
The Federal Bar Association will be hosting its first “lunch and learn” program of the season beginning at noon on Thursday, November 12, 2020. The Jury Assembly Room in the Gerald R. Ford Federal Building and Courthouse in Grand Rapids will be open and available for anyone who can safely attend in person. Because of ongoing covid-19 concerns, there will also be a zoom option available for anyone who wants to participate virtually.
The focus of this year’s program will, once again, be on pro bono opportunities in the domestic violence context. The pandemic has amplified the need for pro bono representation. And as we learned last year, you do not need to be a domestic relations lawyer to provide help. To the contrary, opportunities abound for anyone with a law license and a willingness to help. The program this year will emphasize the unique needs and opportunities during the covid-19 pandemic.
Congress adopted the POWER Act in 2018. Once again, our Federal Bar Association is serving as the organizational arm for this District’s program. Once again, Chief Judge Robert Jonker will moderate a panel of experts. This year, we expect:
1) Testimonials about real life pro bono assistance from both attorneys and clients. Kristen Wolfram, a top private practitioner who has frequently provided pro bono support to survivors, and Steven Grumm, the Director of Community Engagement for Legal Aid of Western Michigan will introduce these stories and offer their unique a well-informed perspective on opportunities for effective service.
2) Norika L. Kida Betti and Hank Fields of Michigan Indian Legal Services will present their perspective on need, existing services and pro bono opportunities in Indian Country. Did you know that Michigan is the only State in the Sixth Circuit with any federally recognized Indian Tribes, and that eleven of the twelve Tribes in Michigan have their home in the Western District of Michigan? This is a unique opportunity in our District.
3) Elinor Jordan of the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence will provide focused vignettes on service opportunities that would be of particular value during the pandemic. Her presentation will assist participants in learning new ways they can be of service.
The point of this program is not to endorse any substantive legal position on any of the complex issues involved. It is simply to highlight the pressing need for adequate representation of all impacted parties, and the corresponding opportunities for pro bono service.
If you would like to order a brown bag lunch for $10.00, please contact Melissa Rabidoux at Melissa_Rabidoux@fd.org by the close of business on Friday, November 6, 2020.
If you would like to attend this program virtually by Zoom, please click on the ZOOM REGISTRATION link provided.
We hope you can join us!
Western Michigan Chapter of the FBA