Registration for Pro Bono Coordinators Retreat is open

Registration for the Pro Bono Coordinators Retreat is open. It will be held Sept. 3-5 at the Texas Law Center in Austin. This two-day event provides valuable training on increasing the quantity and quality of legal services available to the poor through pro bono efforts.

The retreat is designed for staff whose primary roles include coordinating pro bono efforts, recruiting private attorneys to provide direct legal services to the poor, and/or organizing training events so attorneys can deliver civil legal services to poor Texans. This retreat is open to pro bono coordinators in legal services programs and private law firms.

To find out more information and to download the registration form, please visit www.texasbar.com/pbcr.

Update: Pro Bono Challenge brings out competitive spirit

In October, the State Bar of Texas Legal Access Division issued a Pro Bono Challenge to the sections of the State Bar. The idea was to recognize the sections for their pro bono participation and add to the competitive spirit among them.

It appears to be working.

Since the challenge began, members have assigned approximately 9,505 pro bono hours to their respective sections! Below are the current leaders.

Top 7 Sections by Number of Hours Reported:
1. Family Law - 2,579
2. Immigration and Nationality Law - 1,168
3. Litigation - 871
4. Criminal Justice - 761
5. Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law - 705
6. Appellate - 652
7. General Practice, Solo, and Small Firm - 617

Top 7 Sections by Percentage Participation:
1. Immigration and Nationality Law
2. Family Law
3. Criminal Justice
4. Alternative Dispute Resolution
5. Appellate
6. Individual Rights and Responsibilities
7. Bankruptcy Law

The challenge will run through the end of the bar year (May 31, 2014), so it is not too late to take a pro bono case and report the hours. If you have any questions about finding a pro bono opportunity or reporting, please contact the Legal Access Division at 800-204-2222, ext. 1837, or probono@texasbar.com.

Instructions for Pro Bono Challenge:
To log pro bono hours, attorneys simply log in to their My Bar Page and click on the Add Pro Bono Hours page. Now members can also assign their hours to a section or combination of sections by making multiple entries through the “add hours” tab. (Members may only count their pro bono hours once, though.) Winners of the Pro Bono Challenge will be selected in two categories: (1) the highest number of hours reported by a section; and (2) the highest percentage of section members reporting pro bono hours. Winners will be recognized at a special reception at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, in the Texas Bar Journal, and in other media.

Pro Bono Spotlight: Serving those who serve us

When Senior Airman Clark* received orders to make a permanent change of station to Europe, he and his wife found themselves in a predicament.

While stationed in Texas, Clark and his wife were caring for her teenage cousin. The child’s mother had become homeless—living on the streets—due to major substance abuse problems, and the father had passed away. Clark and his wife needed to obtain a formal custody order before bringing the child with them to their new base in Europe.

Clark and his wife were unable to afford an attorney, so his military legal assistance attorney (JAG) referred him to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project. The ABA Military Pro Bono Project located an attorney, Morris Albers II, who practices in La Grange, Texas, and generously offered pro bono assistance.

*Name changed for the client’s confidentiality.

 

With Albers’s help through guardianship proceedings, the child was able to move to Europe to remain in the care of this military family. The family was relieved that the child could remain in a safe and stable environment with them while Clark continued serving our country abroad.

“Everyone leaves smiling,” Albers said. “It was particularly gratifying that a military family benefited.”

Kudos to Albers for lending a hand to our military personnel and their families, recognizing the sacrifices they make on behalf of us all!

Show You Care: Texas attorneys who are volunteering through the ABA Military Pro Bono Project are assisting military members facing a variety of civil legal challenges, including family law issues, creditor and consumer problems, landlord-tenant matters, and others. These cases can be uniquely challenging for military members who cannot afford attorneys, especially when these issues can distract them from their critical missions. For more information, contact project director Mary C. Meixner at mary.meixner@americanbar.org.

For more information on pro bono opportunities across Texas, contact the State Bar of Texas - Legal Access Division at (800) 204-2222, ext. 1855 or at probono@texasbar.com.

Interested in issues affecting the military and veterans law? Join the Military and Veterans Law Section. Members include active duty, reserve, and retired judge advocates of all branches of the military, as well as civilian lawyers.

SBOT Legal Access Division announces Pro Bono Challenge

The State Bar of Texas Legal Access Division is excited to issue a Pro Bono Challenge to the Sections of the State Bar.

When you log in to your My Bar Page to report your pro bono hours, you may now assign all of your hours to one Section, or you may assign hours to any combination of Sections by making multiple entries through the “add hours” tab.

Winners of the Pro Bono Challenge will be selected in two categories:
(1) the highest number of hours reported by a Section; and
(2) the highest percentage of Section members reporting pro bono hours.

The winners will be recognized at a special reception at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, in the Texas Bar Journal, and in other media. If you have any questions, please contact the Legal Access Division at 800-204-2222, ext. 1837.