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 25-31). 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.
Tyler Hickle is a solo practitioner in Austin.
What kind of pro bono do you do and how long have you been doing it?
I’ve been doing pro bono since I became a lawyer in 2009. It was a rough time to be a new lawyer and pro bono was the only experience I could get. I do consumer law like landlord-tenant and debt collection issues.
Why is pro bono important to you?
Pro bono is important to me because it is helping the people who need legal services desperately. In some cases, it was a matter of being homeless if they didn’t get help.
What have you learned from doing pro bono?
I’ve learned that every area of the law touches every other area of the law. Criminal law impacts employment law and landlord-tenant. Family law impacts estate planning. It is all one giant glorious and terrifying mess.
What would you say to an attorney who is thinking about doing pro bono for the first time?
It might be the most important decision to make as a lawyer. Do it.
Share one of your favorite pro bono success stories.
I was defending an eviction and my client didn’t have any defenses. We lost the case. But she was so happy that someone listened. Having her day in court, despite the result, was enough. Win or lose, some people just want to be heard.