Today we celebrate and honor Martin Luther King, Jr., a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. His birthday was January 15th, and as you probably know we celebrate it the third Monday of January. We’re hoping you are not at work, but we know that many of you are. In fact, while government employees have the day off, only 37% of nonfederal employees do (which is actually an increase from previous years.)
Regardless of where you are, the question is what can we do to honor such a great man. As Dr. King himself once said, “Life’s most persistent question is: What are you doing for others?” As a lawyer, there are so many ways to answer this question.
Here are just a few ways you can “do for others” and, in turn, honor Martin Luther King, Jr.—not just today but on every day of the year:
- Increase your amount of pro bono hours.
- Contact your local bar association to see if they’re doing anything to honor the holiday. For instance,the Alaska Bar Association, along with several other organizations, organized a public service project where low-income Alaskans with civil needs can ask lawyers legal questions for free in areas throughout the state on MLK Day. Also, through the Austin Bar Association, the Austin Young Lawyers Association organizes a day of service where members can volunteer for various events in the area. Do a little digging, and you’ll surely find tons of opportunities to help right in your backyard.
- Become a mentor. Call your local law school and offer to speak with students one-on-one to help them decide which area of law they might want to pursue. Some bar associations also offer mentoring services, so contact your city or state bar. Of course, you can also take a young employee on your staff under your wing. No matter where you are on the totem pole at work, there’s always someone who can use a little guidance from you.
- Offer to give free talks at your local law school, bar association, or community center. You can even get in touch with your local high school to see if their debate team might need some extra tips from a pro. After all, a lot of those teenage debaters are the next generation of lawyers.
- Check out the Corporation for National & Community Service to find other volunteer opportunities in your area specifically related to MLK Day.