Alston & Bird is receiving recognition for some of the firm’s numerous volunteer efforts that can be completed by just sitting at a desk, such as the Georgia Senior Legal Hotline project and the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program. The firm is set to receive the Innovations in Pro Bono Service award at the Atlanta Bar Association’s annual Celebrating Service luncheon, and its “desk-side” volunteering opportunities have been recently highlighted in the Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Fulton County Daily Report.
“Our volunteers are asking for things they can do at their desk, and things they can do with limited time that is not going to disrupt their day,” said Cheryl Naja, pro bono and community service manager at Alston & Bird. “Most workplaces are doing more with less right now, so you are seeing the volunteers impacted by that,” she continued. “We’ve had to think creatively about volunteer projects we can bring in-house.”
The Georgia Senior Legal Hotline program is a joint project between the Atlanta Legal Aid Society and the state, through which senior citizens access legal services via a telephone hotline. “What it does is take administrative duties off the lawyers who can then pick up that request and immediately go to work on assisting the senior citizen in need,” Naja explained. “We’ve been doing it now for two years and they’ve increased the number of cases they’ve been able to serve by 1,500 the first year, because it took an administrative duty off of a legal professional.”
The American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program is another “desk-side volunteering” project embraced by the firm. The program provides transportation to and from treatment for people who have cancer. “The help desk works with ACS to get the facts on the patient; they distribute the maps to volunteers,” Naja said. The volunteer drivers are also Alston & Bird employees.
“There are lots of ways to create these volunteer opportunities for volunteers who can’t get away from their desk, but they take a little creative thinking,” Naja asserted.