President’s Message – Dec/Jan 2015

Yes, it’s me again. As we approach the new year, I’m asking all of you to give your time, talent, and treasure. This time, I’m speaking about one of the goals of our strategic plan, which focuses on the PCBA VLP.

Goal number three: To continue our leadership role to provide meaningful access to justice and legal assistance.

It’s time to get out of your comfort zone and give back to our community, to low income Polk County residents in need of professional legal assistance. The PCBA VLP offers a variety of ways to share your time, talent and treasure. Did you know that the PCBA VLP typically serves 900 low income local clients per year? As you know from reading the monthly PCBA VLP wish lists, the legal needs certainly vary. It’s not all family law. All sorts of substantive legal expertise are needed, almost every month.

How can you get out and give back through the PCBA VLP?

First, look at the PCBA VLP wish list. Note the variety of legal issues. Realize the specific important need for legal assistance reflected in each case. Use your time and talent to help a VLP client who cannot otherwise obtain legal assistance. Each VLP case you handle will make a definite difference in that VLP client’s life. Prefer a short time commitment and a limited substantive legal area for your pro bono work? Call the PCBA VLP office and offer your services for the next group of landlord/tenant eviction matters that must be covered on short notice.

Or, if you have experience and expertise in one or more of the legal areas our low income neighbors often face, offer to present a CLE program on that topic. Do you understand Miller trusts or advance directives? Do you know the relevant issues in an involuntary discharge case? Do you understand the myriad of medical assistance programs administered through the Iowa Department of Human Services? Do you know the ins and outs of collection work? If so, please offer to educate other Polk County lawyers on these legal principles, to enable them to be more comfortable handling these matters for our low income community members.

If, like mine, your legal employment or practice area doesn’t allow you to represent PCBA VLP clients, give some of your treasure to the VLP. Checks are always welcome! You can add some entertainment value to your VLP donation, through participation in the golf outings or the trivia challenge nights.

As our strategic plan says, the Polk County Bar Association helps lawyers and judges achieve success by being an inclusive organization serving the interests of the justice system and the community. We’ll do our best to meet that vision, this year, next year, and every year. Please consider giving your time, talent and treasure for the greater good. Please join us in our efforts to serve as many low income residents of our local community as possible. We need you. Just do it. You’ll be glad you did.