The Birmingham Bar Foundation encourages and unifies the philanthropic and educational efforts of the Birmingham Bar Association for the betterment of our community and for the promotion of justice. Established in 1994, the Foundation functions to promote and support charitable work of the Bar and activities in furtherance of justice and legal education. You may contact the Birmingham Bar Foundation at 2021 2nd Avenue North, Birmingham Alabama 35203, (205) 251-2231, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alabama Appellate Courts Oral Arguments
Each year, the Foundation invites Alabama Appellate Courts to hold their oral arguments in Birmingham, Alabama to provide a unique opportunity for the community, particularly high school, college and law school students, to observe the judicial system at work. To further the enrichment experience, prior to oral arguments, volunteer attorneys and judges make class visits to participating schools to give overview of the Alabama Court System and an explanation and analysis of the cases that will be heard. The Foundation also prepares printed educational materials for the teachers for future use.
Resolve-2-Solve is a conflict resolution and peer mediation program developed by the Birmingham Bar Foundation and the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Section of the Birmingham Bar Association to teach students positive conflict resolution and peer mediation skills. The goals of the program are to give students the necessary tools to handle conflict with peers and with adults; to help students better control their impulses and hone social skills; and to decrease the number of discipline infractions in schools. Moreover, the program provides volunteer opportunities for attorneys in local schools. Using curriculum developed by the Foundation, the ADR Section and the pilot school (Tarrant High School), members of the ADR Section facilitate program training for volunteers who include Foundation board members, BBA members and other professionals. On a monthly basis, one hour sessions are conducted with students on the following topics: Assertiveness v. Aggressiveness, Resolving Conflict on Social Media, and Handling Adult/Teen Conflict. After students complete the conflict resolution program, they move onto the mediation aspect of the program to become peer mediators.
Preserving Justice, Emmy-Nominated Documentary
In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of key events of the Civil Rights Movement, the Birmingham Bar Foundation and the Birmingham Bar Association developed an original documentary, Preserving Justice, which details the activities of lawyers who played a significant role in the struggle for equal rights.
Produced in collaboration with the University of Alabama’s Center for Public Television, this 30-minute film tells the story of courageous attorneys and judges who worked to challenge discriminatory laws and practices. This film has two purposes: 1) to record these events in the voices of those who participated, and, 2) to serve as a teaching tool for the study of these events that brought about such historical change for this country.
What distinguishes our film is that it is purely Birmingham’s story. For example, it brings attention to the desegregation of Birmingham’s schools and public facilities. Some of those highlighted in the film are the late Arthur Shores, Abe Berkowitz, Orzell Billingsley, former Birmingham mayor David Vann and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Our goal is to share the documentary with schools because we believe the documentary will be a valuable asset as an additional tool for teaching about the Civil Rights Movement and the impact the law and legal system have on the world in which we live.
Juror Handbooks In Memory of John Nathanael “Nat” Bryan, Sr. (1960 – 2008)
Attorney Nat Bryan was a zealous advocate for his clients, a generous supporter of the Birmingham Bar Foundation and a devoted husband and father. His untimely death in 2008 was a loss to all who knew him. Nat served as a Foundation officer and board member from 2004 through 2006. In 2005, Nat worked with the Courts of 10th Judicial Circuit to create the first Birmingham Bar Foundation Juror Handbook. This handbook was the first guide provided to jurors since the State of Alabama stopped funding jury service guides in 1992. The handbooks are a great tool “to assist citizens in serving their important role in preserving our Constitutional rights to a jury trial in Civil and Criminal cases. The justice system works best when jurors are informed of and fulfill their duty as the fact finder in cases pending before the Courts.” The Juror Handbooks help jurors fulfill these responsibilities.
The Foundation honors Nat and his memory by recognizing his contribution towards making jury service easier and simpler for the citizens of Jefferson County. The Foundation also honors his memory by providing wireless internet access in the Jefferson County Jury Assembly Room for use by jurors waiting for jury service.
Memorial Scholarship Fund
A special way to honor a loved one, the Memorial Scholarship Fund allows family and friends to pay tribute to a Birmingham attorney, his or her spouse, child or friend. Written acknowledgements to all contributors and the surviving family member are sent. Your gifts provide funds for annual law school scholarships presented by the Birmingham Bar Association. Please include with your contribution the name, relationship and address of the person to whom your gift can be acknowledged.
In furtherance of the Birmingham Bar Foundation’s mission, the Board has created a grants program. The Foundation awards grants on a rolling term. Unfortunately, requests for funding usually exceed the amount available for grants. Lack of approval of a grant request should not be considered a reflection upon the merits of a project or program. Currently, the 2016 grant application process is not open. The beginning of the next grant cycle will be announced on the Birmingham Bar Foundation website.
Visit bbfound.org/grants for more information.