Even though we have a small staff - only 7 of us - we get a lot done thanks to our volunteers. Over the past several weeks, the office was filled with lawyers, students and a host of people who give their time, skills and energy to The Project in a number of different ways.
Our lawyers come to work on cases or one of the in-house divorce clinics. Law students come to support those lawyers and to work with Linton and the staff on preparing the many documents needed in the process of working on a case. Here's just a sampling of who February brought to The Project and how they helped us do more.
- Volunteer attorney Pam Hansen comes in regularly to assist consumer staff attorney Jesse George with his bankruptcy caseload, which is exceptionally large right now. She sees several clients at our offices and processes their files with The Project’s bankruptcy software.
- New volunteer Nicholas Armstrong, an undergrad at Loyola and an assistant at the university’s Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice, has been providing administrative support – database maintenance, website updates, and record-keeping – to staff members, and he is looking forward to gaining legal and pro bono experience as he contemplates a career in law.
- Francis “Franco” Gumbel has been volunteering at The Project for the past six months. He helps with any task given to him – he drafts petitions, schedules client appointments, assists with divorce signings, stuffs mailing insertions, sends out letters, answers a high volume of phone calls, translates for Spanish-speaking clients, and even assembles office storage equipment. His dedication is all the more admirable since he has a part-time job, but he still finds time to come out and give back to the community. We enjoy having him here and wish he sticks around.
- Student volunteer Kyle Keenan, who's back with us offers this reminder about why he comes to The Project:
As the first 2015 Spring Semester Gillis Long intern, I have had amazing opportunity to continue the work I began last summer while taking classes full-time at Loyola Law. My breadth of experience has expanded beyond writing and filing petitions, successions, and now includes assisting with divorce clinics and administrative work processing intake applications. Every day is a learning and growing experience, and both professionally and personally, is aided immensely by the amazing team in The Pro Bono Project office and network.
- Intake Coordinator, Robin Roper has five student volunteers from Tulane earning hours for their Ancient Roman Law in Society class. Amethys E'Etessam, Shaina Sarwar, William Kopperl, Meissa Sjahbana-Geiss and Douglas Shirreffs are busy sending out letters notifying people that their physical file is due to be shredded and they have two weeks to pick it up if they would like to keep it. Even The Project does Spring cleaning.
- A team of lawyers from Entergy's Legal Department spent a day bringing closure to 15 divorce cases by working with clients on completing the needed divorce pleadings and custody documents.
In March, Georgetown and Drake Law Schools will be sending The Project 8-10 law students from each. And, come April, we'll have Dutch student Isabel Marie Louise Rigutto. She is the 17-year old daughter of Carolien Broers, who works as Senior Legal Counsel for Shell Oil International in The Hague Area of The Netherlands. Carolien is a Tulane Law alum and was connected to us through one of our volunteers. Isabel will be interning in administrative support and getting a first hand look at another facet of the law.
There's always plenty to do at The Project and we're happy to have volunteers lend us their skills and expertise. If you are a lawyer, paralegal, law student or other legal industry professional, please contact The Project's Chief Legal Officer, Linton Carney. For other areas of expertise such as IT, marketing, fundraising, accounting, etc., please contact Executive Director, Rachel Piercey.
Thanks to all our volunteers for their continued support in so many ways!