Public service programs

Public Service Programs

Participating in the OBA's numerous community service activities is the best way for attorneys to show the public the compassionate side of lawyers working together as a group to make a difference in the lives of others in our society. Attorneys involved benefit from the personal satisfaction of sharing with others – and enhance the legal profession's image for all lawyers.

Many of the OBA's community service programs are projects of the Young Lawyers Division, but attorneys don't have to be a YLD member to become involved. To sign up for a YLD project, contact the current YLD chair.

Law Day — a one-day project held during Law Week to offer the public free legal advice from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. by calling designated local and toll–free phone numbers, sponsored by the OBA and county bar associations. Approximately 300 attorneys volunteer and help nearly 2,500 people with legal problems every year.

Ask A Lawyer TV Show — a one–hour television program designed to share information about legal issues in easy–to–understand language. The show is produced by the OBA Law Day Committee and OETA for broadcast throughout the state on Law Day.

Citizenship/Americanism/Patriotism (CAP) — promotes citizenship, Americanism and patriotism among the youth of Oklahoma through a program educating high school seniors of the rights and responsibilities attendant to being a citizen of the United States, YLD project.

Clients’ Security Fund — a fund created by the OBA Board of Governors in 1965 for the purpose of reimbursing losses to clients as a result of dishonest conduct of persons practicing law in Oklahoma and to maintain the integrity and good name of the legal profession as a whole.

Consumer information brochures — pamphlets on 14 topics covering commonly asked questions; topics are wills, probate, joint tenancy, home buying, tenant rights & duties, landlord rights, divorce, small claims court, employee rights, bankruptcy, trial juror information, lawyers & legal fees, living wills (brochure & form) and resolving conflicts & disputes; OBA distributes the brochures free to courthouses and libraries throughout the state, OBA Communications Committee project.

Disaster Legal Assistance — assists victims of disasters by providing free legal advice in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, OBA Committee and YLD project. This committee is active only in the wake of a disaster which results in a need for its services.

Fundraising for public television — every year 25 attorneys volunteer one evening during OETA's fund drive to take pledges from viewers to support education television statewide, attorneys make individual financial contributions on behalf of the OBA to earn a senior executive producer sponsorship level.

Gift of Life Project — educates bar members about organ and tissue donations and encourages participation in organ sharing networks, YLD project.

Hatton W. Sumners Summer Institute — summer institute committed to curricula advancing education programs in civics. The Foundations of Democracy curriculum and Bill of Rights, “Being an American” were utilized in the inceptive year. (OBA LRE project) Funded through a grant from the Hatton W. Sumners foundation.

Law School for Legislators  — this program is primarily designed to familiarize non-lawyer legislators with substantive topics in law and practical issues in legislation, this brief program will complement their orientation at the State Capitol. Proposed session topics include constitutional issues, the basis of law, and the criminal judicial system.

Law–related Education (LRE) — This department works toward the advancement of citizenship education within Oklahoma’s education system. This goal is accomplished through civics based institutes and workshops developed for educators as well as the distribution of relevant educational materials. All services and materials are provided at no charge to the recipient.

Lawyers in the Classroom Program — more than 200 dedicated attorneys volunteer each year to present civics education topics in classrooms and school assemblies around the state. (OBA LRE project)

Legal Guide for Young AdultsYou’re 18 Now it’s Your Responsibility — This free publication summarizes for young adults the new rights and responsibilities acquired upon their eighteenth birthday. This publication was produced by the OBA Law–related Education Committee and made possible through funding from the OBA, OBF and the Sonic Corporation.

Mock Trial — a statewide mock trial competition in which high school students in grades 9–12 model the roles of attorneys and witnesses, trials are heard by actual judges in courtroom settings, by interpreting, analyzing and portraying the major issues of a case, students obtain a unique insider's perspective of the American legal process, participants develop poise and confidence through both individual and team efforts, state championship team advances to national competition, hundreds of judges and attorneys volunteer to serve as attorney coaches, trial judges, scoring panelists and trial site coordinators, YLD project.

Oklahoma CloseUp — this program affords students the opportunity to meet face–to–face with members of the Oklahoma legislature, judiciary, and executive branch. The annual event is co–sponsored through the OBA LRE Department.

Oklahoma Find a Lawyer — the Oklahoma Bar Association does NOT refer attorneys to consumers, provide legal advice, license or regulate paralegals or other non-lawyers. As a community service, the OBA does provide a directory of its attorney members who have given their permission to have their names published in this directory. Go to www.oklahomafindalawyer.com. Check out the OBA’s Lawyers and Legal Fees brochure for tips on how to select an attorney, what to expect when you hire an attorney and typical fee arrangements.

Oklahoma Lawyers for America's Heroes — this program provides legal advice and assistance free of charge to active duty servicemen and women as well as veterans. 

Peaceful Resolution for Oklahoma Students (PROS) — this peer mediation program teaches students alternative, non–violent methods of conflict resolution. The program is a joint venture of the Administrative Office of the Courts and the OBA LRE Department.

Pro bono activities for legal services — pro bono efforts by private attorneys increase the amount of free civil legal services to poor and elderly Oklahomans offered through Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Indian Legal Services.

Seniors Handbook — a compiled reference guide for senior citizens containing useful practical information on various legal topics of interest to seniors, distributed free of charge, YLD project.

Tolerance Education Project — promotes tolerance among children in Oklahoma for differences in race, religion, national origin and others, all of which make the melting pot of America. Volunteers speak to grade school children with a presentation promoting tolerance, YLD project.

U.S. Constitutions — pocket Constitutions are published for distribution to educational institutes, community service groups, attorney speakers, and individuals. (OBA LRE project)

Volunteers Booklet — a publication for volunteers addressing their legal rights and responsibilities, distributed free of charge, YLD project.

Volunteer/pro bono activities – over 50 percent of Oklahoma attorneys spend three or more hours a week on professional legal volunteer work, 70 percent of state attorneys spend three or more hours a week on civic, community, charitable work.

We the People: Project Citizen portfolio-based civic education curriculum designed to involve students in public policymaking.

We the People: Citizen and the Constitution Civic education curriculum focusing on the foundations of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, their development over time, and the role of citizens. Culminating activity is a simulated congressional hearing.