Sunshine and blue skies make pro bono fun

Most attorneys practice law indoors in stuffy offices and courtrooms, but on a recent Saturday, a group of lawyers volunteered to give their legal advice in the great outdoors.

Their al fresco approach to law paid off as hundreds of families and individuals showed up looking for free legal aid at the Goodwin & Scieszka Law Center in Birmingham for the firm’s Law Day event.

The yearly outdoor event featured one-on-one counseling from attorneys donating their time to answer queries in many areas of law.

To make the day fun for children, the presenting attorneys, Scott Goodwin and Jim Scieszka, rented three big bounce houses, served up 700 hot dogs, and brought in attractions like a live band and a circus performer who made balloon animals.

As parents themselves, Goodwin and Scieszka are concerned about child safety. That’s why they’ve donated over 10,000 bicycle safety helmets over the years. At the event, every child got a helmet — carefully fitted and adjusted by volunteers — plus, four lucky kids won brand new bikes just for showing up.

To make the day more exciting for Detroit Tigers fans, Goodwin & Scieszka brought in “Paws” to hand out free Tigers’ tickets and other prizes throughout the day. Hundreds of families took pictures with the smiling “Paws” and others climbed over a big red fire truck brought in for the day.

Goodwin has just finished his one year post as the president of the Michigan Association for Justice and was thrilled to have served his peers in that role.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by fellow lawyers,” he said. “I will always be grateful. And hopefully, I inspired my peers to give back to their community in free events like Law Day. Making an
impact in people’s lives is so gratifying. Practicing law is not just a job — it’s a calling, a vocation. And events like Law Day are a reminder of that.”

“It took a lot of work,” Goodwin said, “and we owe it all to the men and women who showed up ready to serve the public.”

Goodwin thanked the attorneys who made it possible.

“Everyone deserves access to justice, and meeting with an attorney at a free legal aid clinic can be the first important step,” he said. “I’m glad we’ve hosted this event for 28 consecutive years.

God willing, we’ll be back next year to help even more people!”