This week is the National Pro Bono Celebration. Each day this week, Texas Bar Blog will feature Texas attorneys who provide pro bono services in their communities. The service of these attorneys, and the hundreds of pro bono attorneys like them in Texas, ensures access to justice for many of the most vulnerable Texans. For a list of Pro Bono Celebration events in your area, click here.
Starlett Carter is a transactional attorney at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in Dallas, where she represents large institutional clients in mergers and acquisitions. She is also a pro bono attorney with the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, where she represents very different clients – low-income families and individuals – in a wide range of legal issues. In pro bono cases and at DVAP legal clinics, she has assisted clients with divorces, adoptions, asylums, wills, contract disputes, and other claims.
Ms. Carter has always been passionate about giving back to those less fortunate and utilizing her law degree to those in her community in legal need. “There is no better feeling than when your pro bono client is on the verge of tears and is hugging you and thanking you for the positive outcome you achieved for him or her,” she says. Two moments in her pro bono service stand out to her: Obtaining asylum for a client that had endured years of abuse in his native country based on his sexual orientation; and successfully completing an adoption for grandparents who desperately needed to get their grandchildren legally adopted for medical reasons.
This year, Ms. Carter has also served as a 2010 Lend-a-Lawyer in the DVAP office. The Lend-a-Lawyer program allows attorneys to practice at DVAP full-time while receiving salary and benefits from their firm. Ms. Carter said her experience as a Lend-a-Lawyer was exceptional. “DVAP is a wonderful place to work and help out those who could not otherwise afford legal assistance. As an attorney in the DVAP office, I got to personally witness how much the DVAP employees can change their clients’ lives for the better. I am truly fortunate that Weil and DVAP afforded me such a wonderful opportunity.”