Working at a food bank in Savannah last year to promote the legal community’s annual fundraising campaign against hunger, Attorney General Chris Carr heard a volunteer speak in language a lawyer can appreciate.
What would really help, Carr recalls the volunteer saying, is for every lawyer in the state to give the price of “one billable hour” to the Legal Food Frenzy.
Carr loved the idea and has adopted it as a challenge for this year’s campaign within the state legal community, which he co-sponsors with the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia and the Georgia Food Bank Association.
Presuming an average billable hour in Georgia is roughly $250 per year, Carr said anyone donating that amount to the cause will earn a spot in the “Attorney General’s Billable Hour Club.” Given that food banks can stretch $1 into four meals, the billable hour figure represents 1,000 meals for struggling families that rely on food banks.
The campaign chose the $250 figure from a 2017 Daily Report article on a national study of billing rates that reported Georgia’s average lawyer hour cost clients $253.
“We know everyone won’t be able to give $250,” but he hoped the goal would encourage lawyers to consider their donations in terms of what they can earn with one hour of work. Carr said he’d donate what he gave last year, $500, but as attorney general he gets a straight salary; he isn’t paid based on hours billed.
The Food Frenzy is timed to stock food banks around the state for the summer, when the 60 percent of Georgia schoolchildren who rely on reduced-price or free lunches during the school year have to look elsewhere for food.
Carr noted that because law firms donate to their local food banks, “The money stays in your community.”
Last year, the Food Frenzy raised enough funds and food donations to create 1.6 million meals.
The Food Frenzy is a friendly competition that awards firms, legal organizations and law schools for the number of points—$1 equals four points—scored per employee and in total. Awards are given out for statewide winners and in eight regions around the state.
The event runs from April 22 to May 3, but legal firms and organizations that sign up by April 1 will receive a 100-point bonus.