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National Celebration of Pro Bono 2017

National Celebration of Pro Bono Week 2017 logo

The American Bar Association (ABA) designated October 22-28, 2017 as National Celebration of Pro Bono Week.

According to the ABA, an estimated 80% of low and moderate income people do not receive the legal help they need. People at all income levels often do not obtain effective legal assistance either because of insufficient financial resources or a lack of knowledge about when legal problems exist that require resolution with the help of a lawyer. The vast number of unrepresented parties in court adversely impacts all litigants, including those who have representation.

Pro bono is a core value of The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL). BAMSL and its members have a long history of partnering with local community organizations to provide legal services to needy individuals, public service groups, and charitable organizations. This long history demonstrates a solid commitment to using members' lawyering skills to help those who cannot afford legal services. All year long, but especially during this time of recognition, BAMSL calls on all lawyers to give back by providing pro bono legal services.

A special thank you goes to the firms participating in the 2017 Hon. Richard B. Teitelman Memorial St. Louis Pro Bono Challenge which have collectively provided over 24,335 hours of pro bono legal services in the St. Louis metropolitan area since January 2017!

Please review the resources on this webpage to see how you can get involved in pro bono and register for free pro bono CLE seminars.

 


Hon. Richard B. Teitelman Memorial St. Louis Pro Bono Challenge 2017

2017 St. Louis Pro Bono Challenge logoIn partnership with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, BAMSL implemented this exciting program to encourage and support pro bono, and to publicly recognize those lawyers and law firms who step up to the Challenge. The Challenge formally launched at a lunch event on January 19, 2017, at the Saint Louis Club, during which participating firms signed a ceremonial pledge that is on display at the BAMSL Bar Center. Firms may sign on at any time during the year. To join the Challenge, your firm simply needs to sign the pledge and submit it to BAMSL. Details are available in the announcement letter below. Participating firms pledge to actively encourage pro bono and strive to perform a total of 10 hours of pro bono on average per year per attorney located in St. Louis. So a firm of 50 local attorneys would commit to an annual total of 500 hours. For some firms, this will seem like a low goal that the firm already exceeds. For others, we hope this will be a welcome way to newly promote or enhance pro bono at your firm.

Announcement Letter   Pledge   Volunteer of the Month Nomination

Thank you to these firms who have joined the 2017 Hon. Richard B. Teitelman Memorial St. Louis Pro Bono Challenge:

Brown & Crouppen, P.C.   Husch Blackwell LLP
Bryan Cave LLP   Jacob Law Firm, LLC 
Capes Sokol   Lathrop & Gage LLP
David B. Lacks, P.C. Law Offices   Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
Dennis Buchheit, Attorney   Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C.
Dentons US LLP   Polsinelli PC
Dowd Bennett LLP   The Simon Law Firm, P.C.
Fox Galvin, LLC   Stinson Leonard Street LLP
Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C.   Thompson Coburn LLP
Herzog Crebs LLP    

 

Status Update

The Pro Bono Challenge law firms provided a collective 24,335.2 hours of pro bono work to the St. Louis community through September 2017. Thank you for your generosity and for making a difference in our community!

The Challenge standings are calculated on a per-attorney basis, to level the playing field for firms of all sizes. All firms have ample time to meet the 2017 Challenge goal of 10 pro bono hours on average per St. Louis area full-time attorney, and many already have surpassed that goal. The American Bar Association model rules suggest 50 pro bono hours per attorney per year. Based on the reports from the first two quarters, we predict that the Challenge winner will meet or surpass that ABA standard!

Thank you to each of these firms for your willingness to report your pro bono hours; by publicly reporting pro bono, we can show the community as a whole just how much our lawyers are giving in free legal services to those who cannot afford them. Although all firms also contribute in so many other charitable ways, pro bono work is a unique contribution of our professional legal expertise that only we as lawyers can make.

The next reports will be due January 10, and please remember that we are on a tight publication deadline!

Kudos to Dentons US LLP for continuing the lead, and thank you to each of you!

Firm Total Hours Avg. Hours/Full-Time Attorney
Dentons US LLP 1,879.6 49.5
Polsinelli PC 2,882.7 37.9
Bryan Cave LLP 6,092.3 34.8
Husch Blackwell LLP 6,187.9 29.3
Stinson Leonard Street LLP 1,319.8 28.1
Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C. 364.2 28.0
Dowd Bennett LLP 662.4 22.8
Fox Galvin LLC 296.5 22.8
The Jacob Law Firm, LLC 19.5 19.5
Thompson Coburn LLP 3,004.4 15.1
Lathrop Gage LLP 450.2 1 13.2 1
Capes Sokol 311.6 1 11.1 1
The Simon Law Firm, P.C. 136.5 10.5
Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. 290.2 10.4
Herzog Crebs LLP 222.9 10.1
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. 169.5 6.5
Brown & Crouppen, P.C. 45.0 2 1.4 2

1 Hours reported only include January 2017 — June 2017.
2 Hours reported only include July 2017 — September 2017.

 


BAMSL-Fox 2 Call-A-Lawyer

Fox2 Now logo

The BAMSL-Fox 2 Call-A-Lawyer program is an important community service program organized by BAMSL's Young Lawyers Division in partnership with Fox 2. The service assists those who may have a legal issue, but aren't sure what to do next. Volunteers are needed to help anonymously man the phones on the third Tuesday of each month from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Please contact either Kayt Kopen or Lindsay McClure-Hartman to volunteer.

 


Free Legal Answers - Missouri | Illinois

ABA Free Legal Answers program logo

Free Legal Answers volunteers are able to log on to provide pro bono service at any time of the day, from anywhere they can access the Internet and as frequently as they wish. Volunteer lawyers choose which questions to answer and can answer anonymously, unless the lawyer chooses otherwise. Professional liability insurance for website answers is maintained by the ABA. Track pro bono service hours through the website. To volunteer, visit the appropriate state website and click the "Volunteer Attorney Registration" link at the top of the page.

 


Gateway Legal Services

Gateway Legal Services logo

Gateway is a nonprofit legal aid law firm dedicated to helping the poor and disabled, focusing primarily on consumer and social security issues.

  • Opportunities: client intake interviews and obtaining case files and medical records
  • Requirements/Qualifications: approximately 3-4 hours per week; reliability

 


Immigrant Power of Attorney Workshops

These workshops, coordinated by Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry, M.I.C.A. Project, and Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates, are targeted to members of the immigrant community, and are spaces where people will be able to work with a volunteer attorney to complete a Power of Attorney form to designate someone to take care of their property or care for their children if, for some reason, they are unable to do so. Volunteer attorneys are needed to assist in advice and preparation of powers of attorney. An orientation will be provided and Spanish interpreters will be available. No prior experience or area of practice is required. Learn more and sign up here.

 


The Kaufman Fund Veterans Legal Referral Program

The Kaufman Fund has seen firsthand where many veterans have a broad range of legal issues, both criminal and civil. These veterans oftentimes have a limited ability to pay for even minimal legal services.

In an effort to help these Veterans in need, The Kaufman Fund is partnering with Veterans Advocacy Project and Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. It is the mission of this program to provide eligible Veterans in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County with legal services, either Pro Bono, or at a significantly reduced fee. The type of legal services to be provided will depend upon the nature of the matter and the court that has jurisdiction over such cases. Generally, legal matters in Federal court will not be included, except Bankruptcies. For more information on The Kaufman Fund Legal Referral Program contact irwin@thekaufmanfund.org. Download Volunteer Application

 


Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation

Provides legal and supportive services to improve the lives of its clients to assist them in obtaining social and economic justice. Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation logo

  • Opportunities: serve as a legal intern in the senior citizens, home ownership, or domestic violence projects; interns typically interview clients, investigate cases, draft pleadings, and in some cases represent clients in administrative or court hearings
  • Qualifications/Requirements: prefer 2Ls and 3Ls, prefer students who can make a two semester commitment; interview, training provided by directing attorney; can take 2-4 weeks before an internship can start; requires 10 hours per week (Monday through Friday)

 


Legal Advocates for Abused Women (LAAW)

Dedicated to helping victims of abuse in times of crisis. LAAW works with legal system, law enforcement and the criminal and civil courts systems. Legal Advocates for Abused Women logo

  • Opportunities: volunteer lawyers needed for casework and fund-raising opportunities; law students not yet Rule 13 approved may work on the volunteer help line, if Rule 13 approved they may assist volunteer lawyers with casework.
  • Qualifications/Requirements: volunteer lawyers contact Katie Wessling, the agency attorney, at 314-452-6492 if interested in volunteering and are required to attend a two-hour CLE-approved session.

 


Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM)

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri logo

LSEM is a non-profit organization providing legal assistance to low-income people in civil matters. Areas of client assistance include representation of domestic violence victims, tenants’ rights and other housing matters, public benefits, immigration and human trafficking, children’s access to education, guardianships, and assistance to the elderly. LSEM also has a Community Economic Development Program that provides legal advice to low-income entrepreneurs and non-profits that serve low income communities.

  • Opportunities: attorneys are needed as volunteers to assist clients in the foregoing areas
  • Qualifications/Requirements: a current Missouri law license in good standing and a desire to help

 


Missouri Coalition for the Right to Counsel 

The Missouri Coalition for the Right to Counsel (“the Coalition”) is a 501(c)(3) Missouri non-profit organization that coordinates and arranges training for attorneys interested in volunteering to receive case assignments from the Missouri State Public Defender (“MSPD”). As a result, volunteer attorneys have a realistic opportunity to gain priceless “first chair” jury trial experience, while supporting the MSPD in its efforts to provide indigent defendants with counsel.

The Coalition has received the support of the Missouri Supreme Court (Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge); Presiding Judges in the Circuit Courts of the City and County of St. Louis and Jackson County; the leaders of The Missouri Bar (President Dana Tippin Cutler) and Morry Cole (President Elect); the Public Defender Commission; and Michael Barrett, the Director of the MSPD.

As of August 29, 2017, 53 felony jury cases and 7 cases on appeal have been assigned to volunteer lawyers in the private practice.

Volunteers are asked to attend two-days of no cost, Missouri CLE approved training, sponsored and presented by the MSPD, where they will be instructed on fundamental trial skills and criminal law and procedure. The next training session will be held on January 23-24, 2018 at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark Hotel at 1 S. Broadway in downtown St. Louis. Space is limited and reservations are required.

The training fulfills all of one’s annual CLE credits, and, as many past participants have observed, provides trial skills applicable to civil trials, as well.

For additional information or to make a reservation to attend, please contact Richard Scherrer at the City of St. Louis Public Defender’s office, at 314.340.7625, ext. 237 or via email at richard.scherrer@mspd.mo.gov.

Note: The training scheduled for October 5-6, 2017 at Bryan Cave LLP has been rescheduled to January 23-24, 2018 at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark Hotel.

 


NAACP of St. Louis City

 


NAACP of St. Louis County

Advocates for Educational Reform (AFER) Program
Volunteer lawyers needed to represent underprivileged children in:

  • St. Louis County Family Court; and
  • St. Louis County Public Schools at suspension hearings.

 


Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts (VLAA)

VLAA offers legal and accounting assistance to artists and arts organizations with arts-related legal and accounting problems. Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts logo

  • Opportunities: volunteer lawyers work one-on-one with clients regarding arts-related legal issues, recruit volunteer lawyers, accept speaking engagements for VLAA , write or edit VLAA publications or participate in the Arts Resolutions Services program as a mediator; law students may work on research projects, working independently or in small groups or assist with administrative tasks.
  • Qualifications and Requirements: volunteer lawyers may work on one case per year which generally requires less than five hours of time spread over several weeks; law students must submit a letter of interest and current resume to vlaa@stlrac.org.