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.

WATCH

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.

JFAB 2017: It’s A Wrap … Well, Not Quite Yet

While the 2017 Justice For All Ball (JFAB) is just a memory – you can still have some fun and add to the final tally. The Last Chance Auction opens today and will be available for bidding until 7:00 pm on Wednesday, November 1. This is not a trick but an extra treat to get your hands on items such as tickets to next year’s 30th Anniversary JFAB, a men’s Armani basket and a new mommy gift package.

View the full Last Chance Auction here.

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2017 National Pro Bono Celebration Week

This week is a time to celebrate the work done by pro bono volunteers across the country.

Although we are always applauding our volunteers, National Pro Bono Week  gives us a chance to celebrate our lawyers, paralegals, translators and other legal and lay volunteers who provide their time, talent and funds to power the work of The Project.

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Partnering Up to Offer Pro Se Help at Orleans Civil District Court

With the guidance of and funding from the Louisiana Bar Foundation (LBF), The Pro Bono Project, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS), and the Family Justice Center (FJC) will team up to staff the Orleans Parish Civil District Court (CDC) Self-Help Desk. The Project will serve as the operation lead. 

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Phelps Dunbar Adopts the Month of September at the 24th JDC Self Help Resource Center

 

August 10, 2017

Phelps Dunbar attorneys are volunteering at the 24th JDC Domestic Self Help Resource Center every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 to noon throughout the month of September.

They will assist visitors with the completion of forms approved by the 24th JDC.  Forms include a petition to divorce with children and without children.  There are also forms relating to custody matters, such as modification of previous orders.  

Our thanks to Phelps Dunbar for their efforts during September.  If you or your firm are interested in volunteering at this desk or in any other opportunity with us, please call 504-581-4043 today.

Hungry for Justice? Share An Evening with JFAB 2017 Honorary Chair, Chef Leah Chase

Living Legend of the Civil Rights Movement, Chef Extraordinaire, and   the entire Chase Family Craft the Perfect Recipe for JFAB 2017

She stood up for the rights of others her whole life, and now Chef Leah Chase is bringing that passion – that hunger for justice – to her role as The Pro Bono Project's Honorary Chair of its annual fundraiser, The Justice For All Ball (JFAB).

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Committed to Justice: Leah Chase, Honorary Chair, JFAB 2017

We know her best as one of New Orleans’ iconic chefs. She is often referred to as the "Queen of Creole Cuisine" - and there is so much more to discover about Chef Leah Chase.

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What's New At JFAB 2017

What's new at JFAB 2017? Well, in the 29 years of hosting this Ball, we've learned a few things, and so we are implementing some changes this year as The Project continues to evolve. Some new features that you may notice include ...

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New Intake Coordinator: Welcome, Ingrid!

It’s always wonderful to have someone who was a volunteer or an intern come to work at The Project. Our new Intake Coordinator, Ingrid Autin fits that description perfectly. Earlier this year, Ingrid came to The Project as a paralegal intern from Nunez Community College in St. Bernard, a parish that we also serve.

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Louisiana Bar Foundation Awards Grant To Help Immigrant Families

The Pro Bono Project was thrilled to accept a check on Thursday, May 18 from the Louisiana Bar Foundation’s Community Partnership Panel. The Project was awarded a $6,705 grant to begin a new program offering pro bono Provisional Custody By Mandate (PCBM) clinics for the immigrant population.

Right now, there is an acute need for this pro bono work.

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Standing Up For Justice

Stakeholder Meeting Convenes with the
President of the American Bar Association and the
Area’s Top Legal Minds to Talk About Pro Bono Work

The Pro Bono Project brought together 60 of the metro area’s top lawyers and jurists to meet with the American Bar Association President Linda Klein and Louisiana State Bar Foundation President-Elect Valerie Bargas on Friday, April 7th to talk about how to build a stronger pro bono partnership. The group met at the Hale Boggs Federal Courthouse in the courtroom of The Honorable Jay Zainey, Judge, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana.

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Phelps Dunbar Adopts the Month of March at the 24th JDC Self Help Resource Center

Phelps Dunbar attorneys are volunteering at the 24th JDC Domestic Self Help Resource Center every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 to noon throughout the month of March.

They will assist visitors with the completion of forms approved by the 24th JDC.  Forms include a petition to divorce with children and without children.  There are also forms relating to custody matters, such as modification of previous orders.  

Our thanks to Phelps Dunbar for their efforts during March.  If you or your firm are interested in volunteering at this desk or in any other opportunity with us, please call 504-581-4043 today.

From The Project’s Chair and Executive Director: Setting the 2017 Agenda

Building a stronger culture of pro bono within the six parishes served by The Pro Bono Project, and across the state of Louisiana sets the stage for 2017 as a year of collaboration, community, and access to justice.

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Law Students Open the New Year at The Project

It didn't take long after the January 1st for law students to arrive at The Pro Bono Project. Staff welcomed students from America University Washington College of Law during the week of January 2-6 and from University of Wisconsin Law School, January 9-13.

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