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President’s Message Joseph A. Fawal From the President In my last President’s Page, I dis- the efforts of both the state and local bars. ell, Greg Hawley, and others to discuss cussed the importance of pro bono work While the BBVLP was created in the manner in which Mobile had built in our profession. I am proud to say that 1995, its progress in meeting the needs of its program. The object of the reinvigo- the Birmingham Bar Association has the indigent citizens of Jefferson County rated program was to increase the number been very active in pro bono work espe- was slow and sometimes ineffective. The of citizens to whom services were to be cially since the re-emergence of what is funding for the program was limited to provided and to reawaken the legal com- now known as the Birmingham Bar As- grants from the Alabama Law Founda- munity to the need in Jefferson County. sociation Volunteer Lawyers Program tion and from the Alabama Legal Ser- After taking some time to study the (BBVLP). The Birmingham Bar Asso- vices program. In 2009, the Honorable problems with the current program and ciation in conjunction with what was then Scott Vowell, our then and current pre- the manner in which Mobile had con- Legal Services of Metro Birmingham, siding judge, was contacted by Allen Tap- fronted these issues, Judge Vowell and Inc., established the Birmingham Volun- ley with Alabama Legal Services and in- Greg Hawley enlisted the aid of members teer Lawyers Program in the fall of 1995. formed that the status of the BBVLP was of the Birmingham legal community to This was as a result of the earlier action of in question and that Legal Services was participate as members of the board of the Alabama State Board of Bar Commis- examining the possibility of terminating the BBVLP. One of their first acts was sioners in creating the Alabama State Bar its funding. While Birmingham’s program to employ an Executive Director with the Volunteer Lawyers Program in 1991. The began in 1995, it was to some extent dor- energy and knowledge to take the pro- purpose of both programs was to provide mant and provided limited services to a gram to the next level. After a process an organized vehicle through which law- limited number of citizens. Judge Vow- of soliciting applications and interview- yers could volunteer their services on a pro ell immediately contacted Greg Hawley, ing applicants, the Board employed Ms. bono basis in civil matters to indigent citi- who was then the President-Elect of the Kelli Mauro to be the Executive Director. zens in their communities. The programs Birmingham Bar Association, and started Since that time, the BBVLP has corrected were designed to target low income citi- the process of trying to reinvigorate the its problems and expanded its operation. zens in need of legal services who could program. One of their first actions was As an example, the number of cases not afford to pay a lawyer. This coming to contact Henry Callaway, who was then opened in 2009 was 336, while in 2011 October we will celebrate Pro Bono the Vice President of the Mobile Bar As- that number increased to 1,209. In 2009 Week. Alabama has become one sociation, to seek his advice on how to the BBVLP closed 293 files, in 2010 it of the leaders in this celebra- get the program moving again. Henry closed 471 files, and in 2011 that number tion over the years and has had served two terms as President of the more than doubled to 1,053. Now more been recognized by the Mobile Volunteer Lawyers Program for a than 1,200 lawyers participate in the pro- American Bar Asso- total of seven years. The Mobile Volun- gram by volunteering their services on a ciation because of teer Lawyers Program was widely viewed pro bono basis. Thirty-nine (39%) percent as the leader in providing pro bono legal of the cases handled are in family law, ap- services to the indigent citizens of Mobile proximately twenty (20%) percent in Pro- County and the surrounding areas. Mr. bate, nine (9%) percent in consumer law, Callaway was kind enough to travel to nine (9%) percent in housing, seven (7%) Birmingham and meet with Judge Vow- percent in bankruptcy and the remaining 8 Birmingham Bar Association


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