2016 Volunteer Recognition Awards
It was a terrific CLE followed by the annual Volunteer Recognition Awards and Reception hosted at Jones Walker on Thursday evening, December 8.
Congratulations to all the 2016 awards recipients. Many thanks to our outstanding CLE panel, Jones Walker and to all those who attended.
Cases, Clinics and Success Stories
New Volunteer Opportunity
The Pro Bono Project has taken the lead in managing and recruiting volunteers for Self Help Resource Center (SHRC) at 24th Judicial District Court in Jefferson Parish beginning on April 19, 2016.
To volunteer, please email Managing Director for Volunteer Engagement, Kathleen Legendre or contact her at 504.581.4043 Ext. 207.
In commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we pay tribute to the many people who came to the aid of The Pro Bono Project in the days after Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of our beloved City. Read the Community Thank You letter.
We recount some of the many stories from the moment when we realized that both our clients and our volunteers were spread across the country, as was our entire population, right up until the present day.
While Hurricane Katrina is long gone, the aftermath still lingers on.
Read stories on our Hurricane Katrina Retrospective page.
CLE Credit for Pro Bono Hours
Read about the new rule taking effect on May 1, 2015 in the latest from CityBusiness.
Congratulations to Adams and Reese attorneys, Martin Stern, Jeff Richardson and Ron Sholes, retired Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Harry T. Lemmon and Louisiana Appleseed for their combined efforts to move this proposal forward.
Read the entire rule.
Dear Friends of The Pro Bono Project ...
As 2016 winds down, change is in the air – change that is sure to affect our organization, our volunteers, and our clients in the new year.
Of most pressing concern are possible cuts to civil legal aid funding beginning in 2017. Because of likely funding shortfalls and potential changes to federal policy, our clients will struggle more to access justice; and worse yet, they may be denied the services they need to provide shelter and food for their families.
One thing is certain: our clients will continue to turn to The Pro Bono Project to help them navigate the judicial system, and we will do our best to give them the help they need.
Every year hundreds of lawyers generously donate their time to The Pro Bono Project to meet the needs of underserved Louisiana residents grappling with complex and costly civil legal issues. Those issues are as diverse as the clients themselves, and the lawyers who step up to help them are true local social justice champions.
Without The Project, many of our fellow neighbors would not have access to justice. DONATE NOW
But engaging in pro bono requires access to clients, and this is where The Pro Bono Project plays its critical role in the process: by recruiting, training, and mentoring volunteer attorneys who, in turn, take on our clients’ cases – pro bono. We get to know each volunteer attorney, and pair him or her with a case that meets the individual’s skill set and interests. Our volunteer attorneys appreciate the opportunity to give back, and our clients benefit from receiving experienced free legal representation instead of being forced to represent themselves.
The key connector in the lawyer/client relationship is The Project itself: our staff screens, intakes, assigns, reviews, and monitors these cases as they work their way through our judicial system. We serve as both a sounding board for the pro bono volunteers and as a support system for the clients awaiting an outcome.
We are the glue that holds this relationship together, and we need your support now, more than ever, to keep this service going. DONATE NOW
In 2016 we handled 2,172 cases. With the help of our volunteer attorneys, we closed 1,206 cases this year, helping our clients obtain more than $2.9 million in economic recovery. To date this year, our volunteers – including our lawyers, other professionals, and lay persons – have provided almost 7,000 hours of time and services.
We often share with you our numbers, but rarely do we have the opportunity to spotlight The Project’s greatest achievements. If we did, however, this is what you would read:
State of Louisiana Sought to Make Siblings in Foster Care ‘Legal Orphans’ Against Their Wishes. The Pro Bono Project’s Attorney Argues Against Termination of Parental Rights. Court Agrees; Preserves Parental Relationship and Siblings’ Satisfactory Placement Within Foster Care System.
Mom Passes Away Without a Will – Daughter Devastated to Learn Family Home, Gutted by Katrina, to Now Be Divided Among 18 Heirs. The Project’s Attorneys Help Her Acquire Clear Title and She Can Now Proceed to Restore Home as Planned.
Through your annual year-end contribution, you unlock the door to The Project for those in our community who need us most. DONATE NOW
Thanks to you, The Project and its volunteers helped more than 2,500 people this year – that includes clients and their family members – who all benefited from free civil legal aid. Your financial support allows our nine-staffed organization to continue serving clients and mentoring volunteer attorneys.
As uncertain change blows through, the one thing we know for sure is that the need for The Project’s services will continue to grow. You have helped us in the past and, as this year ends, we ask that you please be generous again with your donation. In doing so, you too become one of our social justice champions!
Jennifer Rizzo-Choi Norm Rubenstein
Executive Director Board Chair
One of the most tax-efficient ways to give is by donating appreciated secururites to The Project. By gifting appreciated securities, you receive and immediate tax deduction for the full market value of the stock and avoid the capital tax gians you would owe by cashing in the securities.
If you would like to make a donation of appreciated securities, please download the Pledge Form and indicate this in the special box on the form. Someone from The Project will contact you. You may also email Executive Director, Jennifer Rizzo-Choi.
From Our Executive Director: Serving Our Clients
I’m still processing what happened on Election Night, and I am sure that you are too.
There’s been a nervous buzz in the legal services community about what the changes in Washington could mean for our legal work. It is possible that there may be drastic cuts to legal aid funding lines.
There also could be some policy changes put into effect that impact our clients’ lives – whether that means cuts to welfare programs, access to healthcare coverage, or other basic rights.
While a lot of that is still uncertain, what is clear is that social justice work is more important now than ever.
Our clients rely on pro bono civil legal representation to help them access justice and the civil court system. They don’t have the money or resources to afford paid counsel. Our clients depend on pro bono representation to help them obtain a custody order or a divorce, resolve an estate matter or avoid deportation to a country swept up in violence and turmoil.
Pro bono lawyers can have a tremendous impact on someone’s life – their volunteer commitment can literally alter the course of a client’s life.
In this time of change, I ask that you re-dedicate yourself to the cause of social justice work and to the mission of The Project. Please consider taking a pro bono case from us and helping out a neighbor in need. Attend a CLE, volunteer at a clinic or the JDC’s self-help desk, be a mentor for other volunteer lawyers – all of these help to provide access to justice for those less fortunate within our community.
As we head into the holiday season where everyone is giving thanks and exchanging gifts, please think about making your gift count. You can make a donation in someone’s name to our organization, specify a program you want your contribution to go to, or just make a gift – no matter which you choose, that money will go toward providing civil legal services for a person in need within our metro community.
We need social justice champions now more than ever. Thank you for your continued support and belief in our mission.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Watch Jenny and Seth on WDSU-TV, Saturday Morning News, September 10, 2016
Sponsorships are still available that include tickets to the spectacular Patron Party, planned by the Honorary Co-Chairs Gary Solomon, Jr. and Seth Bloom, Esq., and produced By Solomon Group. Check out the JFAB 2016 page for tickets and sponsorship and other information.
Register for and preview the auction items at: JFAB 2016 Auction