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Proceeds from attorneys earning ethics credit provide funding to ten organizations

Wednesday, September 19, 2018   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Meg Wickham
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Proceeds from attorneys earning ethics credit provide funding to ten organizations


In June each year, attorneys in Missouri and Kansas scramble to make sure they have acquired the mandatory continuing legal education (CLE) credits they need for the year. The end of the CLE reporting period is June 30. Nineteen years ago, Kansas City attorneys Mark Hinderks and Stan Davis and then-Johnson County District Court Judge Steve Leben got together and came up with a program that provides the two hours of ethics education needed within the 12 hours of required CLE credits. The program, Ethics for Good, is offered each year during the last two weeks of June.

"This all began one day when two casual lunch conversation threads intersected: we bemoaned how mind-numbingly boring most professional responsibility CLEs had become, and then drifted into a separate discussion about what project we could do as lawyers that might create some good, both objectively and for the community perception of lawyers.  All of a sudden, we realized these things could be put together — if we could be funny and interesting while still providing real content, we could get lawyers to contribute the CLE money they were spending anyway to a group of good local charitable and educational organizations.  We challenged ourselves to actually launch — and it worked," stated co-founder, Mark Hinderks.

The program is attended by about 600 attorneys each year and is offered in auditoriums at Johnson County Community College and the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. Each year, the writers and presenters of the program select several area charities to receive proceeds from the program. Over the past 19 years, just over $711,000 has been contributed to charity. In 2018, the following organizations received donations:

Kansas Bar Foundation
Washburn University School of Law for scholarships
University of Kansas School of Law for scholarships
University of Missouri-KC School of Law for scholarships
Johnson County Community College Foundation for their paralegal program
Foster Adopt Connect
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Johnson & Wyandotte Counties
Hope House
Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault

The Kansas Bar Foundation (KBF) sponsors the program and assists with marketing, reservations, invoicing and preparing materials. In addition to Hinderks, Davis, and Leben, the current presenters of the Ethics for Good educational program are Kansas City area attorneys Todd LaSala, Jim Griffin, Jacy Hurst, and Todd Ruskamp as well as Kansas Court of Appeals Judge Melissa Standridge. Together, the presenters of Ethics for Good and the KBF provide local organizations with assistance in providing needed services to Kansas and Missouri residents.

SAFEHOME is one of the organizations receiving support. The organization provides a healing atmosphere for survivors of domestic violence. They serve approximately 8,000 individuals each year.

“SAFEHOME is honored to do the work we do! As we navigate through the intensity of our community needs, we will remain steadfast in our commitment to our mission. The Kansas Bar Foundation gift helps us continue to provide free services to all our clients,” stated Heidi Wooten, president and chief executive officer. “We are grateful the Kansas Bar Foundation selected SAFEHOME to be a recipient of their generosity.”

Next year, the program will celebrate its twentieth year. The organizers and creators of the program have had a great run!

"We're proud to be having our twentieth program in 2019," stated program cofounder Steve Leben, now a judge on the Kansas Court of Appeals. "We're especially pleased that the program has been so well supported by attorneys in the Kansas City area."

Ethics for Good 2019 will be on Wednesday, June 26, and Friday, June 28. The details will be announced in early 2019.

About the Kansas Bar Foundation
The Kansas Bar Foundation was established in 1957 and is housed in the Robert L. Gernon Law Center in Topeka. The Foundation funds charitable and educational projects that foster the welfare, honor and integrity of the legal system by improving its accessibility, equality and uniformity.


Robert R. Hiller Jr says...
Posted Friday, September 21, 2018
Great stuff here. Keep up the good work, KBF !