Listen and engage
Pro bono has been one of the VBA's priorities this year, and I pledged to visit all the Legal Aids throughout the Commonwealth as your President. The purpose of the visits was to express the VBA's gratitude for the vital work of Legal Aid, to talk about the VBA Pro Bono Council, and to brainstorm ideas how the VBA can help with the Legal Aid mission. Not only did the meetings produce some tangible results, they reinforced the importance of listening and engaging.

The meetings have produced a wide variety of ideas and collaborations. For example, at one end of the spectrum, the VBA brokered a sit-down session between the leaders of several firms and the local legal aids in one city on ways to improve pro bono services. On the other, the VBA helped a Legal Aid identify a new board member from a historically challenging part of its service area. Those are instances (and there are many more) where the VBA's deep relationships with our members facilitated positive engagement. 

What else did the "listening tour" reveal? Here are several simple suggestions how you can promote the mission of Legal Aid to make access to civil justice available to all Virginians:
  • Visit your local Legal Aid website (you can find it at, or better yet, their office
  • Take a pro bono case
  • Invite a local Legal Aid attorney to your office to discuss what they do
  • Make a charitable donation
  • Attend a Legal Aid event (Jazz4Justice concerts are terrific!)
  • Consider Legal Aid (or The VBA Foundation!) when cy pres opportunities arise
  • Check out the VBA's Pro Bono Resource Center
Many other rewarding opportunities are available. Just listen and engage.  

Have a great weekend! We look forward to seeing you in Williamsburg next week where, among other great programming, you can learn more about pro bono by attending the VBA Pro Bono Council's program, "Practicing Pro Bono: Simple Ways to Change Lives with Your Lifetime of Skills."

 with The Virginia Bar Association
2015 photo
Harry M. "Pete" Johnson, III
The Virginia Bar Association 
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