Allegheny County Bar Association Lawyers to Provide Free Legal Consultations and Education at Community Legal Clinic—March 29, 2014

Clinic held in memory of Derrick A. Bell, civil rights lawyer and professor
who pioneered scholarship on the intersection of race and justice

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – March 18, 2014. Volunteer lawyers from the Homer S. Brown Division of the Allegheny County Bar Association will offer free legal consultations and education on Saturday, March 29, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the Homewood-Brushton YMCA, 7140 Bennett Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15208. Attendees will have the opportunity to sit down with a licensed attorney and receive guidance on how to resolve legal problems they might be facing. Informational group sessions will also be offered on the topics of family law (11:00-11:45 a.m.); the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants (12:00-12:45 p.m.); and clearing criminal records (1:00-1:45 p.m.). “This event brings lawyers into a community that normally does not have easy access to free legal help,” said Cynthia Moore, chair of the Homer S. Brown Division.

“This clinic is greatly appreciated by our members and community. We are fortunate to be able to host these services along with the many support services we offer here at the Y,” said Ricardo Williams, executive director of the Homewood YMCA. Members of the public interested in scheduling an appointment with an attorney should call 412-440-8224 or e-mail and leave their name, contact information, preferred appointment time, and a brief description of their legal issue.  An informational flyer can be found here:

This annual legal clinic is named in honor of Derrick A. Bell, a Pittsburgh native and graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. In the 1960s, Dr. Bell worked alongside Thurgood Marshall at that NAACP Legal Defense Fund to dismantle the vestiges of Jim Crow laws and school segregation in the south. He continued his school desegregation work as deputy director of the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Bell joined the faculty of Harvard Law School in 1969 and two years later became the first black tenured professor on the faculty of the law school. He became dean of Oregon Law School in 1980, but resigned in 1986 in protest of the faculty’s refusal to hire an Asian American female professor.

Bell returned to Harvard, where he continued to be a vocal advocate of the hiring and promotion of women and minorities.  His persistent activism on this issue eventually led to his departure from Harvard, and he joined the faculty of New York University School of Law in 1992. At NYU he continued to write prolifically on issues of race and the law. Bell passed away in 2011. 

The legal clinic will follow a two-day symposium at Pitt Law School in honor of Dr. Bell, featuring an opening lecture given by Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., the Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice at Harvard Law School.

The Derrick Bell Community Legal Clinic is a project of the Black Law Students Association at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law; the Homer S. Brown Division of the Allegheny County Bar Association; the Pro Bono Center of the Allegheny County Bar Foundation; and the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh’s Homewood-Brushton Branch. 

The Homer S. Brown Division is a professional division of the Allegheny County Bar Association with approximately 200 African-American attorneys and jurists. The division seeks to increase the legal knowledge of the community, protect political and civil rights, assist local law students, and benefit members by providing employment information, continuing legal education, and practice development opportunities. The Pro Bono Center of the Allegheny County Bar Foundation is the nexus between the members of the bar association and its 34 projects and member organizations that provide direct legal services to low-income individuals. The center's mission is to provide well-trained attorney volunteers to help meet the legal needs of the indigent in Allegheny County.


Contacts: Barbara Griffin
Allegheny County Bar Foundation

  Cyara Powell
Black Law Students Association of the
University of Pittsburgh School of Law

  Ricardo Williams
Homewood-Brushton YMCA