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 individuals in the legal community to get involved. Today, we feature Texas C-BAR, Patrick Maher, and Texas CASA for their invaluable work.

Texas C-BAR is the only project of its kind in Texas. Texas C-BAR provides free legal resources and pro bono transactional legal services to organizations working to improve the quality of life in low-income neighborhoods and for high-risk populations. One such organization is Texas CASA.

Texas C-BAR pro bono volunteers and Texas CASA have a longstanding working relationship. CASA trains volunteers throughout Texas to become Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected children as they navigate the court system.

Texas C-BAR volunteers and staff provide legal advice and assistance as well as training to the central CASA organization. Every year, Texas C-BAR trains executive directors and leadership staff of local CASA organizations at a conference convened by Texas CASA. New and veteran executive directors report “aha” moments of understanding the operational risks hidden in managing employees and volunteers and feeling relieved at learning how to manage that risk.

Volunteer attorney Patrick Maher of Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller LLP in Fort Worth recently handled a Texas CASA matter. Vicki Spriggs, CEO of Texas CASA reported: “To say the level of service was outstanding is an understatement! I contacted Texas C-BAR, who referred my case to Mr. Maher; within the week of my request I’d spoken to Mr. Maher twice. His constant guidance, accessibility, knowledge, and calm made a tremendous difference in the outcome of the matter.

“Mr. Maher was with me as a partner through the entire matter, and he was never too busy to return a call or tell me when to expect a return call. He helped me through the process step by step. My appreciation to Texas C-BAR and attorney Maher cannot be overstated. Thank you for the high level of service you provided.”

Strong community support serves as the foundation of the local CASAs. Texas C-BAR volunteers have worked with dozens of local CASA organizations, helping with everything from the creation of bylaws to helping review contracts. Texas C-BAR looks forward to continuing to partner with CASA to serve Texas’s at-risk children.