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Feel Good Friday: Showing Los Angeles Some Love with Food


— August 12, 2016

Welcome to Feel Good Friday! This feature has been on a short hiatus while I tended to other matters, but should now be back every week. Feel Good Friday is the way LegalReader spotlights good news about lawyers giving back to the community beyond just providing legal services. This week, we’ll look at how the American Association for Justice was showing Los Angeles some love with food!


Welcome to Feel Good Friday! This feature has been on a short hiatus while I tended to other matters, but should now be back every week. Feel Good Friday is the way LegalReader spotlights good news about lawyers giving back to the community beyond just providing legal services. This week, we’ll look at how the American Association for Justice was showing Los Angeles some love with food!

Image courtesy of the AAJ.
Image courtesy of the AAJ.

The AAJ held its annual convention in LA this year, from July 22 – 25. While there, volunteers from the organization’s Minority Caucus, New Lawyers Division and Trial Lawyers Care Committee worked at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. The teams worked the 21st, 23rd and 25th.

Quoting a recent piece by my colleague, Susanna Leighton, “Right now, an estimated 15.5 million children in America live in poverty, with 15.3 million of those children going hungry on a daily basis because they live in food-insecure households. This typically means these kids eat 1-2 meals per day, which are often provided through free breakfast and lunch programs available in public schools. This doesn’t account for weekends, holiday breaks and summer vacation.”

In a nation as rich as the U.S., this fact is both disturbing and unacceptable.

According to Jessica Hoerman, the AAJ’s Trial Lawyers Care Committee chair, “Food insecurity is a major public health issue that has reached crisis proportions in LA County. It is alarming and unacceptable that over 30% of Los Angeles County families will have difficulty putting food on their table every day.”

She went on to say that the volunteers were looking forward to helping the Los Angeles Food bank in its efforts to provide food to those who need the help.

While some people may agree with Dick the Butcher, from Shakespeare’s Henry VI, part 2, Act 4, Scene 2, in which he opines, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” I posit that some of our profession may certainly do little to change Dick’s mind and that of those who agree with him, but the AAJ volunteers are the perfect example of lawyers doing good things. Put aside, for the moment, thoughts of some of the truly awful TV ads for our profession and let’s focus on Feel Good Friday.

Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Dick the butcher and Smith the weaver seizing the clerk of Chatham and threatening to hang him with his pen and inkhorn. Mezzotint by Coles after H.W. Bunbury, 1795. 1795 By: Henry William Bunburyafter: ColesPublished: 20 August 1795.
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Dick the butcher and Smith the weaver seizing the clerk of Chatham and threatening to hang him with his pen and inkhorn. Mezzotint by Coles after H.W. Bunbury, 1795. 1795 By: Henry William Bunburyafter: ColesPublished: 20 August 1795.

The AAJ and its groups are comprised of lawyers that actually could change Dick’s mind and maybe even earn his admiration, as they have earned mine. AAJ members tend to have one thing in common, aside from being lawyers: they are committed to making a difference in the communities in which they live and work. They do this through various volunteer actions, some of which have included:

  • Giving blankets, stuffed animals and books to homeless children
  • Providing school supplies to a community literacy program
  • Donating supplies to Veterans’ shelters
  • Giving books to elementary schools
  • Cleaning parks and building houses
  • Working to end distracted driving through school presentations
  • Running canned food drives
  • Cooking and serving meals at a summer community program, and of course,
  • Sorting and bagging food at local food banks

As Ms. Hoerman put it, “We always look forward to pooling our resources to make a difference and get to know the community better.” The members do much of this wonderful work at their annual conventions, which are held for networking and educational opportunities.

An attorney from the San Antonio, Texas office of Justinian, PLLC, Amber Pang Parra worked with the AAJ’s Minority Law Caucus at the food bank last month.

She had this to say of her experience: “The work was pretty intensely physical and another great opportunity to work alongside other attorneys and social service providers who help underserved communities every day. The impact of food banks like this one is incredibly far reaching. Knowing how many kids rely on food provided by these banks over the summer, when subsidized meals through schools are unavailable, makes me appreciate being able to do this kind of work.”

We at LegalReader would like to recognize the AAJ, the Minority Law Caucus, the New Lawyers Division and Trial Lawyers Care Committee, Ms. Hoerman, Ms. Pang Parra and all the others who pitched in to help hungry people. And to prove that Dick’s plan might be a bit extreme!

Sources:

Giving Back to Los Angeles #AAJinLA

Pick a Side, Any Side

Feeding America.org

The Second part of King Henry the Sixth

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