Doing the Right Thing – Payne Mitchell Law Group and Justice Deborah Hankinson Donate $25,000 to EAJ Campaign
by Alicia Hernandez
“Doing the right thing” has been the mantra of legal aid programs for years. The well and possibly overused argument for upholding civil legal aid for the poor through pro bono service and financial support speaks to the noble sides of lawyers who aspire to open justice. But, when it comes to the skeptics or simply those who want to know that their contributions to legal aid programs are well spent, it comes down to facts and figures and the bottom line economic incentives for supporting legal aid to the poor.
In recent years, more focus has been placed on the economic impact of legal aid programs on our communities. The data has upheld what many of us have always believed—that legal aid programs not only make a difference in the lives of the poor, but they also have a significant impact on the economic health of our communities.
The Perryman Group studied the economics of legal aid in 2009 and issued a report entitled “The Impact of Legal Aid Services on Economic Activity in Texas: An Analysis of Current Efforts and Expansion Potential.” The study also found that the activity generated approximately $30.5 million in yearly fiscal revenues to state and local governmental entities.
Closer to home, the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (DVAP) volunteer attorneys helped clients realize over $1.5 million in annualized benefits in 2011. With additional income, clients are less likely to need food stamp, Medicaid and housing assistance from local, state and federal resources, and they also have more funds to put back into our local economy. This is an impact that not only helps our clients in their daily lives, but helps our community as a whole.
This is what Andy Payne and Jim Mitchell, of Payne Mitchell Law Group, are doing with their $25,000 gift to this year’s Equal Access to Justice Campaign—making an impact on individual clients while helping our community as a whole.
“Equal Access to Justice not only helps preserve the legal rights of our fellow citizens who cannot afford a lawyer, it also has a significant economic impact on their lives and our community” said Mr. Payne. “We are grateful that Payne Mitchell can again support the important work of the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program.”
Payne Mitchell Law Group has supported the campaign since 2007 with over $126,000 in donations. Giving from the heart with an eye towards the practical impact, Payne Mitchell’s donation will continue to help DVAP clients stand on their own two feet and become more capable of better supporting themselves and, in turn, the local economy.
Justice for All is a great cause that embodies the idealism of an open legal system with practical economic results that are very relevant to our times,” added Mr. Mitchell. “We are proud to be a part of it.”
Justice Deborah Hankinson, of Hankinson LLP, is also supporting this year’s Equal Access to Justice Campaign benefitting the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program with a $25,000 donation. Justice Hankinson’s commitment is not just a gift to DVAP, it demonstrates her firm commitment to the positive impact that access to justice can have on everyone. “One of the things on which all Americans agree is that justice should not be based on what you can afford to pay for it,” said Justice Hankinson. A steadfast supporter of legal aid, Justice Hankinson has donated countless hours to the cause on a statewide and national level and $216,000 to the Equal Access to Justice Campaign over the years.
For more information on the Campaign or the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, please visit www.dvapcampaign.org or contact Alicia Hernandez at (214) 220-7499 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Recognition levels and donor benefits are available. All individual donors at the $1,000 level and above and all firm and corporate donors at the $5,000 level and above will be recognized in an ad in the Dallas Morning News during the week of December 16, 2012, in Texas LawBooks and in Texas Lawyer in January or February 2013.
Alicia Hernandez is the director of the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program and the DBA director of community services. She can be reached at email@example.com.