Pro Bono Spotlight: Taylor Lamb

The State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the American Bar Association, and others proudly support the National Pro Bono Celebration (Oct. 19-25). Pro bono week is an opportunity to educate the public about the good work the legal community is doing to improve the lives of vulnerable Texans and to encourage more people in the legal community to get involved. Today, we feature Taylor Lamb for her invaluable work in the Houston legal community.

The Houston Bar Association, the Houston Bar Foundation, and the HBA’s Houston Volunteer Lawyers established the Veterans Legal Initiative in 2008 to serve the legal needs of Houston’s large veteran population. In 2011, a Texas Access to Justice Foundation grant allowed the initiative to partner with other bar associations to establish Saturday legal clinics in a 17-county area where low-income veterans had little access to pro bono legal services.

Kathy* came into one of those legal clinics, in Lake Jackson, needing a divorce. Originally married in January, Kathy was the victim of an assault by her husband, Brad*, at the beginning of May. The Brazoria County Sheriff’s Department arrested Brad, who was on felony probation at the time he assaulted his wife and was held on a no-bond status.

Freed from an immediate physical threat by her abusive husband, Kathy was able to move out and purse legal remedies to dissolve their marriage and ensure her future safety. Through the Veterans Legal Initiative, she was matched with volunteer attorney Taylor Lamb, who obtained IOLTA certification for Kathy’s case and had her husband served in the Brazoria County jail.

Licensed in 2010, Lamb is an associate who handles corporate and transactional matters at Gray Reed & McGraw, P.C., in Houston. Since the firm started its pro bono program two years ago, Lamb has handled pro bono cases for Houston Volunteer Lawyers, primarily through the Veterans Legal Initiative.

“There are so many in need,” she said. “They are so grateful when you take the time to listen to them at the clinics. If there is something you can do, you want to do it.”

When Lamb met Kathy, she knew she wanted to help her. “She was an injured veteran who was very young,” Taylor said. “She was younger than me, and she had already had this whole life experience. It was hard to see someone that young who had already gone through so much.”

In addition to handling the divorce, Lamb had to obtain protective orders for Kathy and represent her in hearings in Brazoria County. While it was “a little intimidating,” Lamb said the court experience and interaction with the judge were very positive. She credits her firm’s family law group and the support she received from Houston Volunteer Lawyers with making it easier to handle the case.

Brad pleaded guilty to assault of a family member and was sentenced to 120 days in the county jail. Six days after his release, Lamb finalized the divorce for Kathy, a relatively quick turnaround made possible by a dedicated volunteer and what Lamb describes as “the perfect client.”

“She was so patient and brave in working through the traumatic facts of the case,” Lamb said. She was touched that at the final hearing, Kathy brought a notebook she kept throughout the legal proceedings containing all of the emails Lamb had written to her. “She was so visibly relieved to have this behind her.”

Lamb’s firm started its pro bono program in 2012, and it enjoys great support from firm leadership, she said. The firm sponsors legal advice clinics and is partnering with Houston Volunteer Lawyers to provide new quarterly clinics at the Houston Area Women’s Center.

“It’s so nice to be able to furnish this service,” Lamb said.

*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.

 

Free legal clinic for veterans scheduled for Texas City

Veterans, as well as spouses of deceased veterans, can obtain free legal advice and assistance during a clinic in Texas City on Saturday, Sept. 13. No appointment is needed for the clinic, which takes place from 9 a.m. to noon at the Texas City VA Outpatient Clinic, 9300 Emmett F. Lowry Expressway, Suite 206.

Volunteer lawyers will offer counsel in any area of the law—including family, wills and probate, tax law, and disability and veterans benefits. Veterans who need ongoing legal representation and qualify for legal aid may be assigned a pro bono attorney to handle their case. The clinic is a public service of the Galveston Bar Association and the Houston Bar Foundation’s Veterans Legal Initiative.

For more information, contact the Veterans Legal Initiative at 713-759-1133 or go to hba.org.

 

Crow begins Houston Bar Association presidency

M. Carter Crow assumed the office of president for the Houston Bar Association on May 15 during the group’s annual dinner meeting at River Oaks Country Club. Crow, partner-in-charge of the Houston office of Norton Rose Fulbright, succeeds David Chaumette to lead the nation’s fifth largest metropolitan bar association.

A member of the HBA Board of Directors since 2007, Crow has served as chair or co-chair of a number of the organization’s committees and programs, including Administration of Justice, Judicial Polls, Gender Fairness, Law Week, and Habitat for Humanity. He is past president of the Houston Management Lawyers Forum; served as a member of the Children’s Fund Inc.; and is an elder at Christ the King Presbyterian Church.

Crow earned his J.D., with honors, from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

 

Free veterans legal clinic May 31 in Tomball

Veterans who need legal advice or assistance can visit a free legal clinic from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 31 at the VA Outpatient Clinic, 1200 W. Main St., in Tomball.

No appointment is necessary. Any veteran, or spouse of a deceased veteran, can receive advice and counsel from a volunteer attorney in any area of law, including family, wills and probate, consumer, real estate, and tax law, as well as disability and veterans benefits. Veterans who need ongoing legal representation and who qualify for legal aid may be assigned a pro bono attorney to handle their case.

The clinic is a public service of the Northwest Harris County Bar Association, in conjunction with the Houston Bar Foundation’s Veterans Legal Initiative, a coalition of local bar associations that provide pro bono legal services to U.S. veterans in 17 Texas counties.

For more information on the clinic, contact the Veterans Legal Initiative at 713-759-1133. 

Local bars offering free veterans legal clinic Saturday in Lake Jackson

Veterans who need legal advice or assistance can visit a free legal clinic on Saturday, May 17 in Lake Jackson in conjunction with the Veterans Legal Initiative, a coalition of local bar associations providing pro bono legal services to U.S. veterans in 17 Texas counties.

The clinic will be held at the Lake Jackson VA Outpatient Clinic, 208 Oak Drive South, Suite 700, from 9 a.m. to noon. No appointment is necessary.

The Brazoria County Bar Association and the Houston Bar Foundation’s Veterans Legal Initiative are co-sponsoring the clinic. 

Any veteran, or spouse of a deceased veteran, can receive advice and counsel from a volunteer attorney in any area of law, including family, wills and probate, consumer, real estate and tax law, as well as disability and veterans benefits. Veterans who need ongoing legal representation and who qualify for legal aid will be assigned a pro bono attorney through Houston Volunteer Lawyers to handle their case.

The Houston Bar Foundation also sponsors weekly Friday clinics at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center from 2 to 5 p.m. on the first floor. More information on the clinics is available at www.hba.org

Free legal clinic for veterans April 12 in Conroe

Veterans who need legal advice can visit a free legal clinic Saturday, April 12 in Conroe.

The clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Conroe VA Outpatient Clinic, 800 Riverwood Court.

No appointment is necessary.

The Montgomery County Bar Association, the Woodlands Bar Association, and the Houston Bar Foundation’s Veterans Legal Initiative are co-sponsoring the clinic.

Any veteran, or spouse of a deceased veteran, can receive advice and counsel at the clinic from a volunteer attorney in any area of law, including family, wills and probate, consumer, real estate and tax law, as well as disability and veterans benefits.

Veterans who need ongoing legal representation and who qualify for legal aid will be assigned a pro bono attorney through the Houston Volunteer Lawyers.

The Houston Bar Foundation also sponsors weekly clinics at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (first floor) from 2 to 5 p.m. Fridays. For more information on the clinics, visit hba.org.

Houston Bar Foundation honors attorneys for pro bono, volunteer service, legal writing

The Houston Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Houston Bar Association, recently announced its annual awards for pro bono service, volunteerism, and legal writing.

S. Jack Balagia Jr., the vice president and general counsel of Exxon Mobil Corp., was named the fifth recipient of the James B. Sales Pro Bono Leadership Award.

The foundation also named the recipients of awards for outstanding contributions to Houston Volunteer Lawyers, which provides pro bono legal services to low-income residents; for volunteer service to the Dispute Resolution Center, providing free alternatives to formal litigation; and for legal writing in the HBA’s professional journal.

The winners appear below, as provided by the HBA.

  • Fulbright & Jaworski LLP earned the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Houston Volunteer Lawyers by a large firm for the 14th consecutive year.
  • Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP received the award for Outstanding Contribution to the HVL by an intermediate firm for the second consecutive year.
  • Baker Hostetler received the award for Outstanding Contribution to the HVL by a midsize firm.
  • Beck | Redden LLP and Yetter Coleman LLP shared the award for Outstanding Contribution to the HVL by a small firm.
  • Coane and Associates, PLLC, and Jenkins & Kamin, LLP, shared the award for Outstanding Contribution to the HVL by a boutique firm.
  • Peter J. Bennett was honored for Outstanding Contribution to HVL by a solo practitioner for the second consecutive year.
  • Exxon Mobil Corp. was honored for Outstanding Contribution to HVL by a corporate law department.
  • Susan B. Sanchez of Exxon Mobil Corp. earned her second consecutive award as Outstanding Pro Bono Coordinator.
  • Jack Edwards and his firm, Ajamie LLP, along with John Spiller of Strasburger & Price, LLP, received special recognition from HVL for exceptional pro bono representation on a complex, time-consuming case that took more than five years to complete.
  • Attorney Robert G. Devlin was recognized for Outstanding Volunteer Service to the Dispute Resolution Center.
  • The Hon. Alvin L. Zimmerman was honored for Longevity of Exemplary Service to the Dispute Resolution Center.
  • The Hon. Dan Hinde, judge of the 269th District Court, was honored as the author of the outstanding legal article published in The Houston Lawyer, the HBA’s professional journal.