“There is hope to be found.  You just have to look for it.  It is there to be seen.  And, in that hope, we will find strength; the strength to endure what lies ahead, strength in our community, and collective hope with each other.  That hope, the hope that you can find, as I have found, is how we will ensure our resurgence.”  Darrell L. Sutton – President of the State Bar of Georgia

I recently wrote a column about how Americans are exceptional because of God, courage, and the work ethic to get the job done.  Darrell Sutton, whose leadership and courage has been invaluable during this time, reminded me that hope is also a critical element in our battle against COVID-19.

The legal community is suffering with the rest of America.  However, like millions of others, we are taking a proactive approach by helping others rather than allowing fear to control our actions. 

Thousands of attorneys spread across the state are engaged in assisting our people. The State Bar of Georgia (SBG) is leading the way.  Here are some examples of how Georgia lawyers have mobilized:

1.  An Essential Business

Despite what you may have heard, neither the court system nor law offices have been completely shut down. The courts and many attorneys are modifying their procedures in order to serve the public and allow justice to be served throughout our state. 

Law offices have been deemed to be an “essential business” at this time.  This means that we can serve our clients by keeping our offices open to the public pursuant to the parameters of Governor Kemp’s executive order.    

Many of us have added additional services, like videoconferencing, teleconferencing, and other methods of communication to ensure that clients can get the services they need both inside and outside of law offices. 

2Delivery of Legal Services in Response to COVID-19

The SBG has formed a special committee to identify and address issues resulting from COVID-19 that are impacting the legal system and the delivery of legal services. The committee shall also serve as the SBG’s representative to the joint task force by focusing on the delivery of legal services in response to COVID-19 and will carry out the mission of that task force. 

1.  Aiding Georgia’s Community Food Banks

Thousands of Georgia children rely upon being at school for two meals per day. When, like now, school is not in session, they turn to Georgia’s community food banks to stave off food insecurity.

Since 2012 the SBG and the Young Lawyers Division has been honored to partner with the Office of the Georgia Attorney General and the Georgia Food Bank Association to raise funds and food for our state’s eight regional community food banks through Georgia’s Legal Food Frenzy.

 Now more than ever before these food banks need our help to provide meals for the more than 16% of our state’s children who are food insecure.

Please consider making a donation to your local food bank today or registering for the Legal Food Frenzy competition to help raise funds and food.

3.  The Georgia Legal Services Program – The SBG supports this nonprofit whose mission is to provide civil legal services for persons with low incomes, creating equal access to justice and opportunities out of poverty.

Please call 1-833-GLSPLAW for more information. 

4.  Pro Bono Services – Individual lawyers in Georgia are donating their time and expertise to help those in need.  While voluntary, the SBG considers it a duty to extend a hand to those who need a firm grip. 

The legal community in Georgia has been and is continuing to meet this challenge and provide hope. 

Please pray for Georgia, America, the world, and our leaders. 

We will prevail.