The State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the American Bar Association, and others proudly support National Pro Bono Celebration Week (October 21-27). Pro Bono week is an opportunity to educate the public about the good work the legal community does to improve the lives of vulnerable Texans and to encourage more individuals to get involved in pro bono support of the legal system. During the week we will feature stories of pro bono volunteers.
Brooke Hendricks-Green is from Odessa and works in the Ector County Attorney’s Office. She is a member of the Pro Bono Advisory Board for Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas.
How long have you been doing pro bono work?
I worked at Legal Aid Society in Lubbock from 2004 to 2006 while attending law school. I also did pro bono criminal cases as a defense attorney for two years while in private practice. I currently volunteer as a member of the Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas’ Pro Bono Advisory Board. I originally started volunteering on the board back when the Equal Justice Volunteer Program first created the advisory board in the Midland office in 2017. On the current board, I am excited to help run the driver’s license clinic. As a prosecutor, I see people daily who cannot navigate the complicated system that is the Texas Department of Public Safety and figure out not only why his or her license is suspended but also how to resolve it. I think it will be a beneficial clinic in our area.
Why is pro bono important to you?
It is so important for everyone to have equal access to justice, regardless of his or her situation. Our country is based upon the principles of equal rights for all, and we must ensure that is taking place on every level of legal needs. We must help those who cannot help themselves. I am looking forward to helping Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas as I transition to the bench in January as well as in any way I can.
What have you learned from doing pro bono?
I have learned that there are many wonderful people who have unfortunate events happen in their lives that can truly be helped by pro bono work. A little of your time is priceless to the person you are assisting.
What would you say to an attorney who is thinking about doing pro bono for the first time?
You will not regret it. You will not believe how rewarding and heartwarming it is to see the difference you can make in people’s lives. Please share your talents.
Share one of your favorite pro bono success stories.
I helped a woman falsely charged with aggravated assault who was in her 70s. The state was adamant about pursuing these charges against her and she was even set for a jury trial. I worked zealously to advocate for her and to show the truth. She lived off Social Security and had rented out a room to her new “alleged victim” to try to make ends’ meet but who then told a fabricated story that she had pointed a weapon at him. She was traumatized by being taken into jail and by the whole criminal process. I eventually got the case dismissed and her life restored to normal. That was one of the best hugs I have ever received.