by Maria Fernandez
At a time when the demands of the legal profession place a premium on pro bono hours, the Pro Bono Activities Committee (PBAC) continues to fan the service flame by facilitating service opportunities for Dallas attorneys to assist citizens in need of access to legal services. The PBAC offers dozens of opportunities to serve throughout the year—all varying in scope, nature and complexity and each centered around the unifying mission of providing quality access to justice for low income and disadvantaged people in and around the Dallas community.
PBAC’s commitment is no less visible in its subcommittees who have expended considerable time and effort hosting and staffing various events this year. Among the list of active subcommittees is the Veterans Outreach Subcommittee (VOS), who will be capping off another successful year with the Veteran’s Legal Clinic (VLC) on November 6. The VLC is celebrating its sixth anniversary this year; it facilitates an open and collaborative environment for Dallas attorneys to engage, render counsel and represent the ever-increasing number of veterans in need of legal assistance. Thanks to the Dallas Volunteer Assistance Program (DVAP), the VOS has recently obtained additional funding to help the VLS extend its reach and expand its mission. Additionally, VOS Chair, Dustin Mauck, will be hosting a free CLE on November 9 in conjunction with Veterans Day. Attorneys and law students are invited to spend their lunch hour listening to speakers address a host of legal issues affecting veterans and receive an hour of ethics credit (pending). The success of VOS (and the VLS), like all of PBAC’s subcommittees and events, depends on its sustaining members and volunteers. For this reason, VOS will continue to promote and recruit volunteers to staff the VLC and other events through articles, publications, CLE programs and presentations to sections of the Dallas Bar Association in hopes that their efforts will spark an interest and increase the list of attorneys, corporations and law firms that staff these clinics and assist our veterans. Contact Mr. Mauck at email@example.com for more information on ways you can contribute.
Members of the PBAC Corporate Counsel Subcommittee have also kept busy this year. In addition to their quarterly member luncheons featuring presentations by local pro bono service providers on service opportunities for in-house legal professionals (including a providers’ Roundtable in February), they have co-hosted several clinics with Texas C-Bar, including a Small Business Advice Only legal clinic, which not only brought together these two groups, but over a dozen local area practitioners (both in-house and otherwise). The attorneys who volunteered their time had the opportunity to assist more than 20 local small business owners with legal questions on topics such as labor and employment, intellectual property, tax, and entity formation landlord-tenant law. The next Small Business Advice Only clinic will take place on October 28 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Belo and all volunteers are welcome. Additionally, the Corporate Counsel Subcommittee members are scheduled to staff a Legal Aid intake clinic on December 10. For more information on ways you can help, please contact Alex Farr at firstname.lastname@example.org or Anne Shuttee at email@example.com.
Recognizing that we are only as strong as our numbers and the community’s growing need for access to legal services, the PBAC’s Section Outreach Committee has also been working hard this year to recruit members across various sections of the Dallas Bar Association. Thanks to their efforts, the PBAC has been able to staff and host legal clinics across various Dallas-area locations, including the West Dallas Clinic, which is held at the West Dallas Multipurpose Center off Singleton on the second and fourth Thursday’s of each month. Participation at other clinics like the Garland Legal Clinic and the South Dallas Legal Clinic are beginning to ramp-up. For more information on these clinics or ways in which you can help with recruitment efforts, please contact Pamela St. John at Pamela.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, in anticipation of National Pro Bono Week, PBAC will be hosting various group meetings at the Belo, including a Law Fair on October 27. Approximately 16 pro bono groups will be in attendance to provide information to attorneys, law students and other legal professionals on ways they can contribute to their community. This event will take place in the Belo atrium from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Maria Fernandez currently serves as Corporate Counsel and Assistant Secretary to COPsync, Inc. She can be reached at email@example.com.