President's Column: It's Time to Rock for Results
Christina Melton Crain
One love. One blood. You got to do what you should. One life. With each other. Sisters. Brothers. One life. But we’re not the same. We get to carry each other. Carry each other. One.
In the song “One,” the Irish band U2 emphasizes the oneness of humanity and the necessity of supporting one another in times of crisis. As lawyers, we are in a unique position to heed this message, because we have the ability to help, using our training, skill and time – not just our wallets.
It is a fact of life that everyone in the community is not in “the same” position, and those persons with real legal problems but the inability to hire lawyers to fight for their rights need sisters and brothers who will reach out to “carry each other.”
Nearly 15,000 attorneys practice in Dallas and hundreds more in the outlying areas. Each year, these attorneys donate more than 25,000 hours to assist low-income residents with civil legal issues who could not otherwise afford an attorney. This is a phenomenal contribution. But with more than 1.2 million people in the DFW area qualifying for free legal aid, DVAP has only been able to scratch the surface to provide the needed assistance. More volunteers and more dollars are needed.
To shine a light on this dilemma, on August 8, 2009, the Dallas Bar Association will host Law Jam 2, a musical event to promote awareness of, encourage participation in, and raise funds for the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, the organization that recruits, trains and supports volunteer attorneys to provide pro bono legal services in Dallas.
While DVAP has done and continues to do extraordinary work – serving thousands of clients annually and earning numerous awards for its efforts – a huge demand for volunteer-attorney participation and financial support remains. National studies show that up to 80 percent of the civil legal needs of poor Americans go unmet, and the Dallas region is no exception. We all can and should do more.
Although everyone in society is not in “the same” position, we do have one thing in common – music.
In the spirit of the Concert for Bangladesh, Live Aid, Live 8 and a host of other benefit concerts, Law Jam 2 will also be a celebration of music with an important message. However, Law Jam 2, chaired by the fabulous Martha Hardwick Hofmeister, has a distinct twist: Each of the participating bands has at least one member that is an attorney (exercising the right side of their brains for a change!).
The evening will consist of a series of sets by seven top-notch lawyer-led bands (including nearly 30 musicians) – Blue Collar Crime, The Catdaddies, Flashcube, Independent George, Second Hand Noise, The Usuals, and The Wrecking Crew.
In addition to some really great music (most of these bands regularly perform at public venues and private parties), the evening will include a live and silent auction of musical instruments and memorabilia, and other sports and unique items.
The incomparable Jody Dean of KLUV will join us during the event to serve as master of ceremonies. But, most importantly, Law Jam 2 will be an opportunity to re-energize the DBA and the legal community in its support of, and commitment to, pro bono efforts in our community.
Law Jam 2 is a “one night only” event. General admission tickets are $25 and all proceeds will directly benefit DVAP. Those who wish to show extra support for DVAP are encouraged to become a “Law Jam Groupie” for $100, which includes admission to the concert, a commemorative Law Jam 2 T-shirt, drink tickets and special recognition at the event. And, of course, other sponsorship opportunities are also available.
Come out and “rock for results”! It will be a great evening for a great cause!