The Heart Of The Season

Holidays bring families and friends together to celebrate the joy of the season. At The Pro Bono Project, we like to think of what we do as bringing "the heart of the season" throughout the year to those who have needed our services.

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Art For Justice’s Sake Continues

Today’s Tales of the Ball, Art For Justice’s Sake, tells the story of the artists, graphic designers, illustrators, and photographers who have played an essential role in the Justice For All Ball since the very beginning. This amazing group has brought the cause of justice to life through their creative talents in our invitations and original artwork. One picture sometimes is worth a thousand words.

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Thirty Years. Thirty Stories.

Where were you 30 years ago?

Some of you were younger. Some of you were not even born yet! And, others, were too young to think about “what you wanted to be” or how you would connect with others in your community.

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Remembering JFAB Through The Years

This year’s Justice For All Ball celebrates the event’s 30th year. In celebration of this milestone, over the next few weeks, we'll recognize some of the people and stories which make the Justice For All Ball such a special occasion for everyone. Beginning with two remembrances from past JFAB committee chairs, we'll post future stories on the website and our Facebook page.

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5 in 5 with ... Mark Romig

For the past few years, Mark’s added The Pro Bono Project’s Justice For All Ball (JFAB) to his many places and faces, serving as the evening’s Emcee to keep the night moving along for Ball-goers, and helping staff and volunteers to keep the parade of fun on time and in rhythm. Keeping our eyes on the upcoming 30th Annual JFAB, we asked Mark to give us 5 in 5.

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Busy is as busy does, and 2018 has been a busy year for The Project and its staff. In between the big move in May, the open house in June, and getting ready for the 30th Annual Justice For All Ball since January – staff members were individually hitting some high notes! Here are just a few highlights from the year so far.

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Media Release: One Night At The Justice For All Ball

Like so many visitors to the city, there’s a story behind every adventure, and the 30th Anniversary Justice For All Ball (JFAB) is no exception. This year’s event, like New Orleans’ Tricentennial, celebrates the many people and stories, which have made The Pro Bono Project a success. Scheduled for Friday, October 5, 2018 at the Audubon Tea Room from 8:00 pm to midnight, the JFAB’s Honorary ChairCalvin C. Fayard, Jr. offers his own story as a reminder to his colleagues what ‘volunteering’ for pro bono was like before organizations, such as The Pro Bono Project, ever existed.

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5 in 5 with ... Lacey Rochester and Mark Kaplinsky

Sometimes it takes two to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Read about the partnership that helped create two of the most successful raffles and auctions at the Justice For All Ball and what they have in store for 2018.

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We’re Opening A New Door For Ourselves!!

After more than 15 years on Baronne Street, The Pro Bono Project is opening the door on May 1st to a new office space in The New Orleans Exchange Centre, formerly the Chevron building. We are so excited about this move and the possibilities that it opens up for The Project, its volunteers, clients, visitors, and collaborative partners.

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JFAB 2018: Rockin’ and Rollin’ in October

As the city celebrates its 300th Anniversary, it is fitting that this year's Justice For All Ball’s (JFAB) 30th Anniversary pays tribute to the French and Acadian heritage that makes New Orleans and Louisiana one of the most fun-loving places in the world.

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We’re Celebrating Twice on May 1st!!

May 1st is a special day on two fronts for The Pro Bono Project – we'll be in our new office at the New Orleans Exchange Centre, [LINK to article] and it's GiveNOLA Day!

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5 in 5 with ... CC Kahr

We're starting a new feature series that we hope you'll enjoy as a way for you to get know The Pro Bono Project's staff, Board members, volunteers and friends. We're keeping it light and fun, and invite you to think about how you might answer these same questions because one day, it might be your turn!

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The 2018 Agenda: Collaboration At The Heart of Pro Bono Legal Services

It takes many hands to open doors to access civil justice for those in need. The strong partnership between The Pro Bono Project, its staff and hundreds of volunteer lawyers, paralegals, law students, and other professional and lay volunteers is the just the beginning.

Only through collaboration with our partners in the Access to Justice community can the mission of The Project ultimately come to life. As we move forward in 2018, collaboration is at the heart of our agenda, just as it is at the heart of serving our pro bono clients.

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Stepping Up To Help Pro Se Litigants

Through a collaborative effort between The Pro Bono Project, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, Family Justice Center, New Orleans Bar Association, and Louisiana Bar Foundation, we forged an agreement to staff the Orleans Parish Civil District Court Self-Help Resource Center beginning in January 2018. The Project also staffs the 24th Judicial District Court’s Self-Help Resource Center at the Jefferson Parish Courthouse in Gretna on Tuesday and Thursday mornings each week.

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Multiplying The Ripple Effect This Holiday Season

The Pro Bono Project opens the doors to the civil justice system for people who can't afford to hire a lawyer. We recruit and mentor volunteer attorneys from the private bar and assign them to cases where the client cannot afford to pay for legal counsel. Our clients include children, families, seniors, immigrants, and others who fall below the poverty line.

Through the power of volunteer mentoring and pro bono work, a ripple effect is created and The Project is able to help thousands of people every year and benefit the community at large. In fact, for every $1 invested in legal aid services during the year, the citizens of Louisiana receive $8.73 of immediate and long-term-financial benefits.

In 2017, we worked on 1,083 cases, representing more than 2,030 families and individuals. Donating almost 5,000 volunteer hours, our active panel of 417 volunteer lawyers, paralegals and others legal professionals won 401 of these cases, providing an economic value of $1,888,036.13 to New Orleans and the six-parish community we serve.

The financial support of individuals like you is the reason why The Project had such a big impact this year. One story, in particular, stands out in 2017. 

One Life Touching Many

Six-year-old Ca’Ron Steele waited almost his whole life for a happy ending.

Ca’Ron’s grandparents, Carl and Clarvette Steele, raised him since he was three weeks old, because his mother was unable to care for him. As Ca’Ron aged, it became necessary for his grandparents to become his legal guardians so they could take him to the doctor and sign paperwork for the school. But there were also all of those ‘other’ moments – at church, at school sporting events, at restaurants – where both they, and Ca’Ron, wanted to avoid the awkward conversation of defining their relationship to others.

Carl and Clarvette were far more than legal guardians – they were the ones who decorated Ca’Ron’s room with dinosaurs, and woke up to cuddle him when he had a fever, and read books to him every night before he fell asleep. The legal label of being a parent is just as important as the emotional label. And so the Steele Family sought out The Project, for help in formalizing their relationship through an adoption.

Through The Project, the Steeles were matched up with Laurie Briggs Young of Adams & Reese, a maritime and energy lawyer, who receiving mentoring help and support from The Project as she represented them on the adoption process in family court. 

One morning in late August of this year, Ca’Ron walked into the St. Bernard Parish Courthouse with his grandparents and volunteer lawyer, and he walked out as Carl and Clarvette’s son. [video inserts here]

People often think that when The Pro Bono Project clears up a legal problem for one individual, it only affects that one life. In fact, the resolution of a civil legal matter often impacts many people.


Who did this adoption touch?

As you can see from the video, an adoption is a life-changing event for a child and his adoptive parents. But, besides the obvious, Ca’Ron's adoption touched the teachers, doctors and other institutional workers that Ca’Ron comes into contact with daily, allowing them to now interface with his parents, who can get him what he needs to become a productive student and responsible adult.

The entire Steele family also now has the relief of knowing that Ca’Ron will never become a part of the foster care system and that he will grow up surrounded by people who love and care for him.

Laurie Briggs Young, the Steele’s pro bono attorney, experienced firsthand how her legal skills changed several lives for the better.

Both the state and the city benefit by keeping a child from becoming part of an already overburdened foster care system.

The justice system – judges and lawyers – also see a long-term effect; they won't have to deal with the problems that sometimes result from a life spent in foster care.

The greater community will one day reap the reward of having a young man who got the opportunity to grow up in a stable, loving home, where he will learn core values that will serve him throughout this life.

All of this – and so much more – happened because The Project was there to connect a pro bono lawyer to a client, and provide mentoring support. The Project opened the door for one small family - the ripple effect touched many more, including you.

Make An Investment: Multiply The Ripple Effect

Please invest in The Project and this community today. Help us spread the ripple effect for other families, children, seniors, and individuals by giving those who need legal aid, access to the civil justice system. You never know whose life you will change with the ripple effect of your donation.

A great big THANKS to all of our donors – whether you’re responding to this campaign, have donated during the year, or are a regular supporter. We wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous 2018.

Please see our Acknowledgement page for a listing of donors.