Every couple of years the new president of the Alaska Bar Association swings through Kodiak to meet with the attorneys in town and to hear about their concerns. Current Bar President Geoffry Wildridge of Fairbanks visited Kodiak recently, but it wasn’t his first time here. Wildridge worked for Alaska Legal Services here in the late 70s and early 80s.
“Matt Jamin was my supervising attorney at that point … It’s just great to be back here. I haven’t been back here in all these years. I’m just kinda dumb-struck; it’s just wonderful to be here.”
On his visit over Crab Fest, Wildridge said he got a chance to meet with most of Kodiak’s attorneys.
“My impressions are very favorable. They all understand, as do most lawyers, that we exist to serve people. I think my impressions, yesterday, we all sat down for lunch, were that these folks who are very devoted, not only to their clients, but also to providing pro bono services for people who can’t afford to hire attorneys. They care about access to justice, which is just a huge deal.”
In addition to promoting access to justice, Wildridge is also interested in promoting tribal courts for rural Alaska.
“Even though that’s a concern that doesn’t involve lawyers in a technical sense. In the sense we know that term. It’s because of the importance of those courts to those communities and because they’re the only form of social control, if you will, in those communities. It’s important, I think, that we look into those prospects more carefully."
Wildridge, and Krista Scully, the pro bono director for the Alaska Bar, also promoted a new publication called the Alaska Youth Law Guide .
“That’s an amazing publication. It’s completely objective; it’s thorough and it’s something kids are inclined to pay attention to. It’s very well developed, has very good advice. (“Give me an example of what’s in it…”) It talks about like locker searches in schools. It talks about traffic related things – licensing, driving without a license. It talks about all sorts of drugs, talks about other things kids are especially interested in. (“And that’s on your website?”) “It is, it’s on our website, but you can also access it at Alaska youth law guide dot org. We’re adding sections, or I should say fine tuning new sections around sexting, the responsibility of taking out a student loan – how that impacts a young person’s life, and some other subject areas based on a legislative watch list that we’ve been keeping our fingers on the pulse of.”
That was Krista Scully and Geoffry Wildridge of the Alaska Bar Association.