Continued Collaboration at Self-Help Resource Centers

We are proud to mark our second year managing the Self-Help Resource Center (SHRC) at Orleans Parish Civil District Court. With over 2,000 visitors in 2018, the SHRC is a model for collaboration and community partnerships.

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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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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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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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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.

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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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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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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There's Another Jenny In The House

It turned out that finding a new part-time successions attorney was easier than we thought – she was already right under our roof!

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Closing the Healthcare Gap: Medical-Legal Partnership Opens a New Door

Healthcare in the United States has been a major issue for the past several decades. Regardless of whether you’re young or old, rich or poor, working or retired – the cost of healthcare has escalated exponentially in the past 30 years.

In 2013, the year before the Affordable Care Act began, more than 42 million citizens were uninsured – that’s about 13% of the population. Since then, reports show that number has dropped by approximately 16.5 million people

But what about the 25.5 million Americans that still don’t have health insurance? Many are uninsured because they still can’t afford it, are ineligible in some way or have completely opted out of the health insurance marketplace.

In most cases, these folks are using community health centers that provide basic care and offer services beyond those of pharmacy-run “minute clinics.” Most community health centers serve both the insured and uninsured. This setting has revealed the tremendous gap in healthcare delivery, which often requires a legal solution to fill.

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Notes: November 2015 In Brief

All year, we've been celebrating YOU through the hours you've given, the cases and clinics you've worked, the CLEs you've attended so you can be more knowledgeable pro bono lawyers, the funds you've given to enable us to continually respond to the needs of the community in the six parishes we serve and the fun times we've had bowling, dancing and partying together for a good cause.

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It's October: National Pro Bono Celebration Is Here

For the past seven years, the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service has shined the spotlight during October on the increasing need for pro bono services, and the lawyers and other professionals who lend their time and talent to those who cannot afford, but need, the services of a civil lawyer.  

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Notes: October 2015 In Brief

As we approach National Pro Bono Celebration (NPBC) week, it occurs to me that pro bono work is happening around us all the time.

Since pro bono is such a part of the culture of the legal industry, we are often forget that 'volunteers' help to power most communities.

Where would this city, this region, this nation be without the many volunteers that come to the aid of organizations that serve those in need?

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