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.
Herb Everitt strives to handle at least two to three legal aid cases a year. He says he learned in law school that there is a great need for pro bono lawyers. Everitt considers himself a service-oriented person and feels that pro bono is “what lawyers should do.”
Over the years, Everitt has handled numerous pro bono cases and served at many legal aid clinics. He also helps out through his own law practice, working pro bono for clients for whom he sees a need. Everitt served for three years on the board of Legal Aid of Northwest Texas (LANWT) in Amarillo, soliciting volunteer lawyers and raising funds for the clinics. He also volunteered at a legal aid office in Houston for about five years.
Over the past year, Everitt has been working with the LANWT teaching the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Legal Aid Divorce Clinic, which is held every three months and averages about 10-15 cases each. Volunteer attorneys walk clients through all of the court documents they will need for an uncontested divorce with no children. The goal of the clinic is to ensure clients they have appropriate paperwork when they go to court.
Everitt says he appreciates the State Bar’s Legal Services Fee (LSF) fund that helps raise money for legal services to the poor. Yet his belief is that “if every lawyer would do pro bono, there wouldn’t be a need for the fund.” Everitt also handles a lot of court-appointed criminal and family law cases. He feels that counties should require lawyers to do two pro bono cases in order to be eligible for court-appointed ones.