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 Eduardo V. Rodriguez for his invaluable work in the Rio Grande Valley.
For more than four years, Eduardo V. Rodriguez has served as a pro bono volunteer with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid’s Hidalgo County Community Justice Program.
According to Rodriguez, the drive to be a pro bono volunteer is a natural aspect of his profession.
“It is my belief that, as attorneys, we are charged with a moral obligation to do good in the community and to assist the less fortunate,” he said. “Volunteering to represent the indigent population with legal matters is always a priority for me.”
During his time as a volunteer with TRLA, Rodriguez has played a key role in helping establish and staff a bankruptcy clinic in the area. Additionally, he has taken on numerous cases and served as pro bono counsel for impact litigation. The work has earned him recognitions from the State Bar of Texas and the Legal Services Corporation.
Finding a passion for pro bono work isn’t difficult for Rodriguez.
“Each case I take seems to motivate me to take on more cases,” he said. “These clients are so grateful that you are taking time out of your busy schedule to help them with a legal matter and are that much more grateful that you are doing it at no charge. I only wish I could do more.”
Rodriguez’s passion for helping low-income residents of the Rio Grande Valley is so strong that upon noticing the impact that recent budget cuts had on TRLA’s local offices, he offered to take on any local bankruptcy case that comes in and additionally explore pro bono opportunities with family law cases.
For new attorneys considering signing up to become pro bono volunteers, Rodriguez has some advice.
“The more pro bono work you engage in, the more you will understand the plight of the indigent population,” he said. “Providing legal services to those in need should be a part of your everyday practice, lest you forget why you became an attorney.”
Rodriguez received his bachelor’s degree and MBA from Pan American University and obtained his law degree from Texas Tech University in 1995. His passion for pro bono work was evident even during his law school days — to this day he holds the record for volunteering and mediating over 100 cases with the South Plans Association of Government.
He currently serves as a managing attorney for the Malaise Law Firm in the Rio Grande Valley.