This month, KCBA President Steve Rovig has asked me to use his space in the Bar Bulletin to share some information with KCBA members about its sister organization, the King County Bar Foundation, and to make an appeal for you to join us for the March 26 Breakfast With Champions event.
The King County Bar Foundation (KCBF), founded by King County bar leaders more than 36 years ago, is dedicated to raising charitable donations in an effort to ensure access to the legal system and encourage diversity in the legal profession. This is our mission and we continue our work in fulfilling that mission.
The KCBF is an IRS-designated 501(c)(3) organization whose board is comprised of 23 trustees, from a broad range of legal and business backgrounds, who are committed to fulfilling its mission through fundraising and support. For more than 36 years, KCBF trustees have dedicated their time and resources in support of the organization's efforts. Whether it is placing telephone calls to King County law firms and companies to raise financial support for statewide civil legal aid programs, assisting with our annual fundraising breakfast for our King County programs, meeting with the deans of the local law schools to better understand and support diversity efforts in the legal profession, or personally contributing to the organization's fundraising efforts, the trustees are committed to its success.
The funds raised by the KCBF each year directly support the KCBA pro bono programs and diversity scholarships to law students at Seattle University School of Law and the University of Washington School of Law. KCBA pro bono programs supported each year include the Housing Justice Project, the Neighborhood Legal Clinics, Volunteer Legal Services, the Family Law Mentor Program, the Kinship Care Solutions Project and the Self Help-Plus Program.
More than 10,000 individuals were able to receive pro bono legal services provided by some 1,300 lawyer volunteers through these programs this past year. In addition, the KCBF granted $136,000 this year to Seattle University School of Law and the University of Washington School of Law, who in turn awarded more than 50 scholarships to minority students. Having had the opportunity to meet many of the scholarship recipients, I can confirm the future of the legal practice is in good hands.
It is with the support of thousands of King County legal professionals and supporters that the KCBF is able to increase its efforts. As all of us are aware, the past seven years have been extremely difficult in the pro bono area. The need for pro bono legal services has grown exponentially, while the sources of support have not. And the need for pro bono services does not look to be decreasing any time soon.
I vividly remember the relief and gratitude individuals would share after being assisted at one of the Neighborhood Legal Clinics when I was a volunteer attorney. I also remember the stress for people when we had to refer them to additional assistance. But at least we were able to provide those resources.
At the same time, the cost of a legal education continues to increase. Many well-qualified individuals would find the cost of law school much higher (if not impossible) without the support provided by the KCBF. Without the generosity and support of King County legal professionals and supporters, access to pro bono services and legal education would be much more difficult.
There is no better time than now for you to continue to help us. Whether or not you're able to volunteer your time with our supported programs, I ask that you consider supporting our efforts through a charitable financial contribution. I believe that, as attorneys, we have a professional obligation to help these programs. Many King County attorneys try to donate at least the equivalent of one billable hour. Some do even more. Regardless of the amount, please consider making a contribution - because everything helps.
An easy way to make that contribution is on Thursday, March 26, when the KCBF will hold its annual Breakfast With Champions at the Sheraton Hotel. This event is the largest gathering of legal professionals in the entire state. More than 1,000 lawyers, judges, law professors, government officials and supporters joined us last year to help raise in excess of $311,000 to support pro bono legal programs and diversity scholarships.
This year we want to do even better. It is a wonderful opportunity to see friends and colleagues in the legal profession, hear an inspirational story from a pro bono services recipient, listen to an engaging speaker, and support the KCBF and its mission.
This year we continue our tradition of great speakers with the opportunity to listen to New York Times best-selling author, Wes Moore. Moore is a youth advocate, a decorated war veteran and the author of the acclaimed The Other Wes Moore and the current New York Times bestseller The Work: My Search for a Meaningful Life. Drawing on his experiences, Moore speaks to the vitality of leadership, the presence of committed support networks that lead to success, and creating and embracing an understanding of meaning and a feeling of fulfillment in one's endeavors.
I encourage you to host a table (10 people) as a table captain, host half a table (five people) as a table captain or purchase an individual ticket. Additional information can be found at www.kcbf.org and on page 32 of this issue. And if you're not able to attend the Breakfast, please consider making a donation online at www.kcbf.org/donate. I promise we'll put your contribution to good use!
Derek D. Crick is a partner in the Seattle office of K&L Gates, where he counsels clients on business transactions and general corporate matters, including entity formation, mergers and acquisitions, financings and corporate governance. He serves as the 2014–15 president of the King County Bar Foundation.