Guest Blog: Cindy Coker – Keeping the Promise

Keeping the Promise

Cindy Coker

When I was a kid, we learned and recited in class the Pledge of Allegiance.  The final words,..with liberty and justice for all…carried a powerful message.  And for an 8 year old, justice meant playing fair in games and not picking on kids – or being picked on.

Several years later (and no, we won’t discuss how many!) I was saying similar words again when I took the new lawyers oath.  I will assist the defenseless or oppressed by ensuring that justice is available to all citizens… Wow, what a promise to make!

Recently the Legal Services Corporation released its updated report on the justice gap in America.  For every client that a legal services program is able to help, at least on is turned away.  I’m not sure who picks up the slack in other states, but in South Carolina, it’s the volunteers of the Pro Bono Program.  Since 1986 S.C. lawyers have given hundreds of thousands of hours in pro bono service.  Those hours have involved hand holding clients, appearing in court, helping a woman get out of an abusive relationship, ensuring visitation for a father with his children, helping a family keep their home or doing what could be done to make the inevitable less painful.

The Pro Bono Program also provides opportunities for lawyers to help educate the public through legal clinics, Law School for Non-Lawyers and Ask-A-Lawyer phone banks.

Unfortunately, the need exceeds the supply.  Liberty and justice for all, while the ideal, is not the reality.  But, we have a chance to make a difference.  We have a chance to keep the promise and close that gap.  We just need a little more help!  Can we count on you?

Pro Bono….Keeping the promise!

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