Letter From The President Of The Bar Association Of San Francisco

2014-01-22 12:45

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

It Starts With A Day: Connecting With BASF Programs, With Our Community And With Each Other

The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is an organization of firsts – over the years, we have led the way on many fronts: in our advocacy for equality and civil rights, in our commitment to providing quality pro bono legal services, in our cutting-edge CLE programming for our members, and with our forward-thinking commitment to not only improving diversity in our profession now, but also creating a pipeline that will help diversify our profession in the future. 

But today, more than ever, we need to make it easy for our busy lawyers – in firms, in corporate legal departments, in public offices – to come together to serve our profession, to support our mission, and to give back to the community where we live. 

How did you first become involved with BASF? Whatever your first experience was, it started with a day. One day that you decided to accept that first pro bono case, to attend that first legal clinic, or to mentor that first diverse student. 

This year, we want to celebrate that first day. We want to celebrate those of you who started with a day and have continued to give your time and talent. And we want to support and encourage those of you who will give for the first time in 2014.

“It Starts With A Day.”

Our goal with the It Starts With A Day initiative is to give you an opportunity to easily connect –with our programs, with our community and with each other.

The first It Starts With A Day event will take place on January 25, when BASF volunteers will transform a gymnasium into a day-long legal clinic serving 60 low-income people in San Francisco's Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. Our Legal Advice and Referral Clinic volunteers will help with all aspects of the effort. 

Our second day of service will take place on May 1 with our Lawyers in Schools program. In honor of Law Day 2014, BASF volunteers will go into classrooms throughout San Francisco to teach a powerful voting rights lesson plan that will help connect young high school students with the law in a way that is meaningful to their lives. 

The next opportunity to give a day will be May 17, when BASF volunteers will have a unique opportunity to work side-by-side with adjudicated youth of the juvenile justice system to plant gardens at the Log Cabin Ranch, a court-ordered school located south of San Francisco. BASF serves the court by providing panel attorneys, including panel attorneys who represent at-risk youth living at Log Cabin Ranch. This day will offer the opportunity for lawyers to build relationships with at-risk youth, outside of a formal courtroom setting. 

Or how about giving a day of your time to help diverse high school students get accepted to college? Our fourth It Starts With A Day event will take place on October 27. During that critical month before college applications are due, BASF volunteers will spend a day helping the diverse high school seniors in our School-to-College program complete their college applications and encouraging them to cross the finish line to college enrollment. 

And finally, I am so excited to announce our last It Starts With A Day event. This day is part of an entirely new program of legal services for veterans that we will be rolling out in 2014. The program “Service for Service” will pull together our existing legal services programs in ways that are uniquely veteran focused. On February 27, in partnership with the San Francisco Veterans Court and the federal Veterans Administration, we will be sponsoring a half-day Veterans Summit to explore the issues facing veterans and work on solutions that will address those issues in the years to come. And on July 17, BASF volunteers will provide legal services to veterans as part of a special clinic we will hold at the Veterans Administration’s hospital at Ft. Miley.

There are so many amazing things happening this year at BASF that there is a place for everyone in our legal community to engage. I invite you to join us and help make a difference. It Starts With A Day!

Sincerely,

Stephanie P. Skaff