Stepping Up To Help Pro Se Litigants

Photo Courtesy Loyola School of L aw

Photo Courtesy Loyola School of Law

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.

For those not familiar with the work of the two courts’ Self-Help Centers, these ”self-help desks” are there to serve the public better and address the relevant needs of litigants, courts, attorneys, and legal aid providers.

Self-represented litigants create unique and significant challenges for courts in administering justice. This service is designed to connect people without the means to hire an attorney with available resources including legal information, forms, and referrals. Self-Help Desks are not a space to provide legal representation, but rather exist only as an information point to help self-represented litigants represent themselves and help them move through the court system without delay.

One way that we staff these self-help operations is with the help of our many partner law firms. Through the outreach efforts of the New Orleans Bar Association, twelve law firms adopted the CDC Self-Help Center during 2018, providing volunteer lawyers one day each week throughout the month.

Here are our Superstar firms providing volunteers for the CDC Self-Help Center in 2018:

January           Phelps Dunbar (contact: Chris Ralston and Katie Wyly)

February          Herman, Herman & Katz (contact: Steve Lane)

March              Adams & Reese (contact: Mark Surprenant)

April                Liskow & Lewis, Hancock Whitney Bank, and Pan American
                        Life Insurance
                        (contact: Dana Douglas and Patrick Reagin at Liskow;
                        Cory Vidal at Hancock Whitney; Patrick Frazier at Pan

May                 Entergy (contacts: Wendy Hickok Robinson and
                        Catherine Gracia)

June                Galloway Johnson Tompkins Burr & Smith (contact: Jason

July                 Flanagan Partners (contact: Thomas Flanagan)

August             Stone Pigman (contact: Brooke Tigchelaar)

September      Jones Walker (contacts: Micah Fincher and Graham Ryan)

October           Baker Donelson (contacts: Katie Dysart and Copper Hirsch)

November       Barrasso, Usdin, Freeman, Kupperman and Sarver (contact:
                        Kristin Beckman)

December       Frilot (contact: Peter Sperling)

Our thanks to all these firms and their coordinating lawyers who are recruiting firm members as volunteers each month on our behalf.

It’s not too late to volunteer at the Self-Help Desks in both Jefferson and Orleans parishes! Lawyers, law students, legal secretaries, paralegals, and law firm sponsors are encouraged to contact The Project. Please email Kathleen Legendre for information.