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Pro Bono Projects

August 19, 1994

In an era when almost everyone seems to express negative views of the actions of lawyers, let me take some time to show that the reality is considerably different.

I am the supervising judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court Central District Family Law Departments. A few months ago at a seminar, I made a request for lawyers to volunteer for pro bono projects that needed assistance. I received more than 80 replies from lawyers willing to devote their time without fee to assist. Every day in my court lawyers, some of whom normally charge their clients large fees, appear and mediate cases to assist the court without any fee. In all of the district courts of Los Angeles County many lawyers contribute time and sometimes money for projects which aid the community.

Activities such as the Barristers Domestic Violence Project have gained fame inside the legal community but appear to be totally unknown to the general public. More than 125 lawyers assist this group, giving time and effort to aid domestic violence victims seeking legal remedies. When the Los Angeles Superior Court started compiling a countywide list from which volunteers to the court could be honored, we discovered that approximately 3,500 lawyers had donated time. The legal profession can hardly claim to be without blame for some of society's ills, but let's start to give some credit where credit is due.

JUDGE RICHARD E. DENNER

Los Angeles

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