Thank you all so much for joining GJP as we celebrated National Pro Bono week last week. We love showing appreciation to our fabulous volunteers, as well as members of our staff who make our volunteer legal programs possible. Thank you all again!
To wrap up National Pro Bono Week, we wanted to share some of the highlights from GJP's celebrations, including:
At GJP, we believe that a criminal record should not lead to a life sentence of poverty and unemployment. 8 years ago, as we saw the need for record clearing services grow, GJP established our Criminal Records Clinic and invited volunteer attorneys and other legal professionals to help us break down barriers to opportunity for Georgians. Since then, hundreds of volunteers have been paired with as many GJP clients to help clear their criminal history and obtain a new lease on life.
8 students helped 8 clients complete the first portions of their pardon applications. Pardons are even more impactful now, due to GJP’s successful advocacy in 2020 for the passing of SB 288 which makes it possible for pardoned felony convictions to be expunged. Applying for a pardon is a lengthy and challenging process – we appreciate these students for helping our clients complete their application and find new opportunities.
Earlier this year, we released a video interview with one of our most active legal volunteers – Julie Wood of Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs – highlighting her years of volunteer service to clients reducing barriers to opportunity through record restriction and sealing. At the time, Julie had closed 19 cases for Georgia Justice Project – more than any previous volunteer. Recently, Julie hit another milestone and closed her 20th record clearing case for GJP! We continue to see remarkable success of our Criminal Records Clinic thanks to volunteers like Julie, who help us bring record clearing to as many Georgians as possible, paving the way to gainful employment, opportunity, and stability.
Hear from Julie herself! https://youtu.be/cCseD5acD8c
In the past year, GJP's legal volunteers donated 2,065 hours of their time volunteering for GJP. This adds up to a value of $493,912 and represents a 35% increase from the previous fiscal year.
We were proud to recognize Michele Young for her significant contribution to GJP's Criminal Records Program and larger mission. In addition to her service as a Board member, Michele has consistently served GJP clients on record clearing and correction cases for over eight years.
Michele has volunteered countless hours over the years, bringing her civil litigation background and wise counsel to GJP in the early days of establishing our Criminal Records Program. Since then, Michele has assisted low-income people whose criminal record acts as a barrier to opportunity, particularly employment. Her work has allowed GJP clients to move on with their lives and pursue gainful, stable employment. In 2016, Michele received the Georgia State Bar's H. Sol Clark Award for her service to low-wealth Georgians. We are so lucky to have Michele fighting in our clients' corner.
Happy National Pro Bono Week – here’s to many more years of serving Georgians together! Visit GJP.org/volunteer to learn more.