Who Will Persevere?
Good things happen when lawyers work together to
support legal aid. We know that the most efficient
way to increase access to justice statewide is to increase
funding for legal aid so that programs can hire more legal
aid lawyers to help victims of domestic violence, families
in danger of losing their homes, and children, seniors, and
veterans who cannot afford a lawyer. For 27 years, the
Campaign has created a community of people who care
about the civil legal system and work together to make
justice accessible to everyone, not just the few who can
There’s power in working together. Portland area large and mid-sized law firms are shining examples. In Portland area large firms, almost 80% of lawyers donate to support legal aid, and almost 50% of lawyers in mid-sized firms donate. And, in other groups, such as the Oregon Women Lawyers, more than 35% of lawyers donate.
Seven years ago, the Oregon State Bar and the Campaign for Equal Justice joined together to recognize the regions around the state with exemplary support for the Campaign. The prize: two traveling trophies, the Equity Cup and the Justice Cup. The Justice Cup is awarded to the region with the highest percent of lawyers giving to the Campaign. The Equity Cup is awarded to the region with the best improvement in participation, once they hit at least a 10% threshold.
Steering Committees work in regions around the state to increase funding for legal aid by recruiting colleagues to join them for lunch, signing their names to annual fund appeals, and making phone calls to reach out to their colleagues. County bar associations have also chipped in, by making financial contributions and using their newsletters as a way to honor donors. It is an impressive and coordinated effort.
Jackson County lawyers were once again victorious in the Justice Cup race this year, with just over 40% of lawyers donating to support legal aid. The Justice Cup is starting to feel at home in the display case in the County Courthouse, as this was their fifth year in a row to hold the high honor. Dominic Campanella, Statewide Co-Chair and head of the Southern Oregon Steering Committee, states that, "Most lawyers here know about the Campaign and wnat to be involved. We have worked hard to build a culture of giving in our bar. All we have to do is tell them, 'Hey, we are here, we care about this, and we want you to do your part too.'"
These were the Justice Cup standings at the time the trophy was awarded.:
The winner of this year's Equity Cup is Lane County, with over 12% more lawyers donating this year than last year. Lane County pulled together an impressive and coordinated effort, and also exceeded its monetary fundraising goal this year. They held monthly Steering Committee meetings and assigned outreach efforts to each volunteer. Their county Bar Association used its newsletter as a way to update people about legal aid and honor donors. Lane County also came in second place in the Justice Cup race.