Michigan attorneys support Access to Justice campaign

The Access to Justice Campaign saw a 32% increase in donations from the legal community in 2019, with $1.2 million raised; a full list of donors was published in the October Michigan Bar Journal and the 2019 ATJ Campaign Annual Report. Every dollar donated goes directly to ensuring access to justice for Michiganders in need.

Legal aid programs are working tirelessly, as the need for free civil legal help exponentially increases amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Threatened evictions, increased domestic violence, and widespread unemployment issues are only a few examples of the scenarios faced by those living in poverty.

In 2019, over 1.9 million people were eligible for civil legal aid in Michigan, meaning they live below 125% of the federal poverty level ($32,750 for a family of four). It is expected that this year, the number of people who have qualified for legal aid has increased. The demand for civil legal aid far outweighs the available resources.

In late summer, the Access to Justice Campaign hosted a virtual ‘Thank You’ event, with speeches from Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, Justice Brian Zahra, Bradley Gayton, Michigan State Bar Foundation Board President Edward Pappas and State Bar of Michigan President Dennis Barnes.

October is national pro bono month, and Michigan lawyers are encouraged to examine how they can increase access to justice for those who need it most, whether by giving money or their time.

The State Bar of Michigan’s “A Lawyer Helps” program recently published its 2020 Pro Bono Honor Roll.

For more information, visit www.atjfund.org or email Laura Musachio at laura@msbf.org, and for more information on pro bono opportunities visit www.michbar.org/alawyerhelps/home or email Rob Mathis at rmathis@michbar.org.


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