October 2013 Bar Bulletin
 
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From the Desk of the Executive Director

Help Wanted: Public Policy & Pro Bono Committee Members Needed

By Andrew Prazuch

KCBA has accomplished a great deal in our 100-plus years supporting the bar and bench in King County. We've engaged on important public policy issues such as court funding, drug policy reform, same-sex marriage, and building a new juvenile courthouse. We've created vital safety net programs for the indigent that now serve more than 10,000 King County residents annually through our Pro Bono Legal Services. We've donated more than $1 million for minority law student scholarships at the two Seattle law schools.

Please know that I chose the pronoun "we" somewhat deliberately. This work wasn't accomplished just by executive directors or bar presidents, section leaders or committee chairs, or paid staff members. It was achieved because members like you volunteer their time to work with colleagues on key bar projects and initiatives.

In her President's Page column last month, Anne Daly took time to express thanks to those bar leaders who chair our many sections and committees. I join with her in that sentiment and have tremendous appreciation for their commitment. But this month I want to acknowledge what those chairs know all too well - for them to be effective we need lots of KCBA members volunteering to serve on our 13 standing committees.

You can review the full list of committees at www.kcba.org/committees, but I want to make a special appeal for members to join one of two committees that have more projects than volunteer capacity.

First, the Public Affairs Committee, chaired by Andrew Maron (Short Cressman & Burgess), meets the first Monday of each month over the noon hour. Members discuss bar involvement on a range of public policy issues, including improvements to the state's referendum and initiative process, engaging in advocacy to abolish the death penalty in Washington, gun safety in our community, and other topics of interest.

Each of these areas (and more to come) is developing subgroups to discuss and advance these issues. Volunteers are needed for the full committee and/or the subcommittees. For many attorneys, an interest in public policy issues goes hand in hand with earning a law degree. I know many of you have a passion for this area of bar activity. We could use your help.

Second, the Pro Bono Services Committee, chaired by Colleen Kinerk (Cable Langenbach Kinerk & Bauer), meets the fourth Tuesday of each month over the noon hour. It is responsible for providing guidance and feedback to the bar's many pro bono programs, which account for one-third of the KCBA budget each year. In particular, the committee is the Board of Trustees' steward to work with professional staff to wisely deploy our financial and human resources.


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