In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Anchorage attorneys provided free legal services at the Mountain View Community Center in Anchorage.
Krista Scully is the Pro Bono Director at the Alaska Bar Association. She helps organize the event, which is in its fifth year.
“So what we’re looking at right now is room of about 30 tables and close to 50 attorney volunteers that are all meeting with clients that have issues ranging from family law, landlord tenant, public benefits, some criminal matters and various housing issues,” Scully said.
The event is a public service project of the Alaska Bar Association, Alaska Court System and Alaska Legal Services Corporation. Attorneys meet with clients for free for 15 to 20 minutes to discuss legal issues.
In those five years, Scully says the event has served more than 1,200 clients. Jonathan Katcher is an attorney who has volunteered at the event all five years. He says it’s part of a trend to give back to your community on the holiday.
“As a national trend people are starting to consider this day not just as a holiday or a day off but as a day of public service that’s consistent with the philosophy and ideas that Martin Luther King represented that we’re all just trying to carry forward in our own way,” Katcher said.
Katcher says the event is a small way to help close the justice gap in Alaska. Booker Lenoir came to the event to get advice on a custody issue. He was pleased with the service.
“They gave me real good advice. You ask a lot of questions and they’re forward and on hand with you. And I like that about that. Cause most lawyers charge fees,” Lenoir said. “So this was a good thing to come actually not to pay for that sitting cost to talk to a lawyer.”
Similar events took place in Juneau and Fairbanks. There is more information about free legal resources around the state on the website of the Alaska Bar Association.