The National Pro Bono Celebration is Oct. 25 to 31, 2009. Each weekday in October, Texas Bar Blog will feature a Texas attorney who provides pro bono services in the community. Without lawyers like these, too many of our most vulnerable citizens would go without legal representation. For more on the national celebration, visit CelebrateProBono.org.
“It feels strange to be recognized for doing something that you should already be doing,” says David Grenardo. “Not much prodding needs to be done. We all just want to help people.”
When Grenardo graduated from Duke Law in North Carolina, he wanted to help people. So, when he began practicing in Los Angeles, he started doing pro bono work with the L.A. County Bar Association. He also worked for The Alliance for Children’s Rights, San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, and Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law.
Grenardo is now a senior associate with King & Spalding LLP in Houston and works from Houston with the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) in Austin. He is on the TCRP board, which works with attorneys in private practice on pro bono cases and is currently targeting law firms to get involved. He has received numerous awards for his pro bono efforts, including Texas Civil Rights Project Pro Bono Champion, the State Bar of California Wiley W. Manuel Award, the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program Distinguished Service Award, and Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law Pro Bono Panel Volunteer of the Year.
An ex Rice University football player, Grenardo is also on the board of The “R” Association, which helps mentor student-athletes. He tells athletes thinking about becoming attorneys that they have an obligation to help people who can’t help themselves.
Grenardo believes that “what is most important is to do something you’re passionate about – and if you are passionate about something, you can find a way to make it work.” He is passionate about civil rights and first amendment type cases. “Anytime you’re standing up for people who can’t stand up for themselves, that’s a great opportunity. It’s amazing.”
When Grenardo works on his pro bono cases, he feels he is “changing peoples’ lives.” “It’s in the fight; it’s not if you win or lose,” he says. "You take the good, the bad, and do everything you can to help these clients.”