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 20-26). 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.
August Zimmerman is a 3L at Texas Tech University School of Law and a native of Katy. He is director of communications for the Board of Barristers, justice of Phi Alpha Delta – Sam Rayburn Chapter, and student mediator for the Alternative Dispute Resolution Clinic. Zimmerman hopes to practice with the U.S. Marines, but if he doesn’t attain that goal, he will probably go into plaintiff representation for personal injury claims.
What kind of pro bono do you do and how long have you been doing it?
I am starting my third year as a court-appointed special advocate, or CASA.
Why is pro bono important to you?
Pro bono is important to me because it provides an opportunity for me to use my education and experience to give back to the community. This allows me to use my time to give something back that can have a positive impact on someone else’s life.
What have you learned from doing pro bono?
My pro bono work has taught me that every opportunity spent volunteering matters. It doesn’t matter if someone can only volunteer once a week or once a year. Any time spent on pro bono work is something that someone might not receive if that person did not volunteer.
What would you say to a fellow student who is thinking about doing pro bono for the first time?
What I would say to fellow students is that, even in law school, you do have time and lawyers are in a position to be community leaders and set trends. Start now. Be an example and help your community. It may not seem like you have the time to do much but every bit helps.
Share one of your favorite pro bono success stories.
My favorite success story is the transformation of one of my CASA children. When I first met him, he was quiet and withdrawn. He had similar problems in his placement and at school. When he spoke, it was barely more than a whisper and very few words. Over our time together, he became more comfortable and talked to me more and more. We did things like play basketball together and he told me about what he wanted to be when he grew up, his hobbies, types of music he liked, and more.