In 2009, Suzie Turner was a pro bono partner at Dechert LLP’s Washington office when she had a brilliant idea: Raise money and awareness for civil legal aid by letting lawyers wear jeans to work.
Go Casual for Justice was born.
The DC Pro Bono Week committee launched the first annual initiative, and they chose the DC Bar Foundation as the recipient because of our broad impact in the community. Go Casual’s first year rallied roughly 30 firms raising about $30,000 to provide equal access to justice.
Suzie Turner’s brainchild ultimately became a citywide effort and an important funding source meeting the needs of low-income residents. Last year Go Casual raised more than $60,000 from more than 65 participating workplaces including law firms, corporations, associations, banks, schools, and others.
This month as we kick off Go Casual as a signature annual event, we celebrate 10 years of doing a lot of good while having a lot of fun. Today it’s not just about wearing jeans to work, but an opportunity for endless creativity from teams who come up with hilarious, competitive, and inspiring ways to make a difference for our most vulnerable neighbors.
And while Go Casual is a blast, its purpose remains as serious as ever: It raises private funds which are unrestricted and benefit our legal aid community through grants, loan repayment assistance, and training. It’s also a vital public awareness tool, teaching about the importance of legal aid.
This fall, I invite you to Go Casual. Join the more than 30 offices that have already signed up and help raise $70,000 from workplaces and individuals committed to justice, just like you. Register your organization for Go Casual by emailing Greer Richey at firstname.lastname@example.org, then host a dress-down or “theme” day at work between now and December 21.
It’s so easy to take part, and the need in our community is so great. No District resident should go without legal help simply because they can’t afford it. Thank you for making the difference.