An Update from the Project
It has now been a year-and-a-half since our Project began placing pro bono case referrals on behalf of active-duty servicemembers and their families, so this is a good opportunity to update you on our accomplishments – due in large part to many of you – and to let you know about some new developments and challenges ahead for our Project.
Since the Project began accepting case referrals from military legal assistance offices around the world for placement with pro bono attorneys, we have:
- secured pro bono assistance for 178 servicemembers, many of whom are serving overseas, in 37 states;
- signed up 609 pro bono attorneys and pro bono coordinators with the Project roster, along with 565 military attorneys who have access to our online case referral system; and
- closed 68 of the referred cases, tracking the number of hours donated by our volunteers, and the dollar value of these hours.
Based on our case closure information, each case accepted by a pro bono attorney represents an average of 16 donated attorney hours, valued at about $4,680 per case. Our 178 referred cases, therefore, represent about $833,040 in donated billable hours by our volunteer attorneys on behalf of our servicemembers and their families. This incredible outpouring of support is inspiring, and the dedicated service by the members of the civilian bar who have stepped up to lend a hand to the men and women of our military is deeply appreciated by the Project and by our military legal assistance partners.
We continue to carry our mission forward, but this effort is not without challenges. The success of the Project has translated into ever-increasing referrals of servicemembers in need, stretching thin our limited staffing resources. We are working hard to seek out and secure additional funding sources in order to increase our staffing level, and there are a couple of developments that may be of interest:
- We have established a Military Pro Bono Project Law Firm Leadership Council, comprised of representatives from firms across the country, to advise and assist the Project with fundraising efforts. We are continuing to recruit members for this Council, so please contact me for more information if your firm may be interested in becoming a founding member of our Council.
- We have added an online donation page on our website (under the “Support” tab at http://www.militaryprobono.org) to facilitate giving to the Project.
Finally, we have just launched a multipronged social media strategy. We will be using these tools to better publicize currently-available pro bono opportunities on behalf of servicemembers through the Project, as well as to highlight the great work being done by our volunteers. Connect with the Project at any or all of the following links:
- Twitter: http://bit.ly/MPBPtwitter
- Facebook: http://bit.ly/MPBPfacebook
- LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/MPBPlinkedin
I hope you will do all you can to promote the work of the Project and our always-present need for pro bono volunteers (especially in the area of family law) to your colleagues and through your professional networks. Thank you for your ongoing interest and involvement in our Project, and I look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.