VOL. 113 | NO. 201 | Thursday, October 21, 1999
Building the bridge of hope
Memphis Area Legal Services will raise funds
through Nov. 4 for its Campaign for Equal Justice
By Sonja Currie
Special to The Daily News
Memphis Area Legal Services Inc.s 1999 Campaign for Equal Justice is conducting its annual phon-a-thon through Nov. 4.
Each Thursday volunteer attorneys will call on their colleagues to support this much-needed resource for the community. The phon-a-thon hours are 1p.m. to 5 p.m.
"I think MALS fulfills one of the most important functions in our society: providing legal services for those who otherwise would go unrepresented," said Mike McLaren, phon-a-thon chairman.
"The response we get from the Memphis area legal community is extraordinary, and I hope it continues. This is truly a worthy cause."
Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. is a nonprofit law firm that provides free legal assistance in civil matters to individuals, families, children and the elderly living below the poverty level. The four counties served are Shelby, Fayette, Lauderdale and Tipton.
In addition to providing legal assistance, MALS serves the community through various programs directed to helping its clients.
MALS has established a new Domestic Violence Project slated to start up in March. A Volunteer Lawyers (Pro Bono) Project consists of private attorneys who donate their time to provide legal assistance to individuals who qualify as low income under guidelines issued by the U.S. government.
Also, MALS has a Community Outreach/Education Program that makes attorneys available to speak to local community groups, churches and schools to discuss civil law topics.
Over the past seven years, MALS has conducted an annual fund-raising campaign in order to raise additional funds to maintain and expand services.
MALS opened its doors in 1970 with the vision of providing high-quality legal representation to the thousands of individuals who needed legal help but could not afford it. That vision has become a reality for many individuals through this venture.
Each year, MALS revisits its priorities in order to address the most pressing legal problems its clients face. Its theme for 1999, Building the Bridge of Hope, is something MALS has attempted to do over the past 30 years.
The 1999 priorities include: housing, family law, public benefit/income maintenance, health, consumer, employment, education and individual rights.
W.J. Michael Cody of Burch, Porter & Johnson is this years chair. The goal of the campaign is $100,000. More than $79,000 already has been raised in gifts and pledges.
Michael McLaren of Black, Bobango & McLaren and Bruce McMullen of Thomason, Hendrix, Harvey, Johnson & Mitchell are the chair and co-chair, respectively, of the 1999 phon-a-thon.
The vice chairs who help with this effort are attorneys Harris P. Quinn, Andy Branham, E. Dean White III, Rhynette Hurd, Mia Henley, Bruce McMullen and Michael McLaren.
"Memphis Area Legal Services plays an important role in our legal community," Cody said.
"I have been a strong supporter of Legal Services for over thirty years. They are the legal voice for many of our children and families. Without Legal Services many citizens of this community would go without representation."
Sixty-four volunteer attorneys from the private bar and MALS will solicit contributions from their peers, legal secretaries and court reporters to take part in this worthy endeavor.
Volunteer attorneys are asking those they solicit to contribute the equivalent of one billable hour (for an attorney, about $150). Contributions in smaller amounts are welcome. MALS hopes the entire legal community will join the hundreds of corporations, foundations, law firms and individuals that already have contributed to the 1999 Campaign for Equal Justice.
For more information, call 523-8822.