The Jefferson County Bar Association (JCBA) celebrated its fourth annual National Celebrate Pro Bono Week, the week of Oct. 22-Oct. 26, on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Event Centre at 700 Crockett St. in downtown Beaumont. The celebration honored attorneys who provide civil legal services without fees to low-income residents who cannot afford to hire lawyers.
Starting off the week, JCBA Pro Bono volunteers set up an information table on the first floor of the Jefferson County Courthouse from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday and Tuesday mornings. On Tuesday, attorneys Sheigh Summerlin and David Grove handed out leaflets and information regarding the pro bono program to visitors and signed up area attorneys wiling to participate in the charitable program.
Pro Bono Program coordinator Cindy Torrans said 203 volunteers participate and they get close to 300 new cases each year. She said at any given time, they have about 200 open cases. The program helps low-income residents with civil matters only, like divorce and adoption. They do not represent people for criminal charges. Torrans said Celebrate Pro Bono Week is a way to say thank you to the volunteers, both attorneys and their legal assistants, for their contributions to the community.
The organization recognized JCBA Pro Bono Program volunteers at a luncheon Tuesday. JCBA Executive Director Bonnie Dean introduced Pro Bono Chair Jimmy Hamm, who addressed the crowd in preparation for their recognition ceremony. Hamm said he appreciated all of the attorneys who volunteer their valuable time.
“We’re standing for those who can’t stand for themselves,” Hamm said.
Hamm recognized the Galmor Stovall Law Firm for its pro bono efforts as a small firm. Attorneys Justin Galmor and Jonathan Stovall accepted the certificate on behalf of the firm. Dawn Tezino accepted the certificate of recognition for the pro bono work of a large firm for Mehaffy Weber. Paul Henderson of Orange received the rural program service award. Tracy Richardson of Strong, Pipkin, Bissell & Ledyard received the Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award for dedicating numerous hours of service to the program. This is Richardson’s second time to be recognized as attorney of the year by JCBA for his pro bono work.
Sharon Brooks can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 241, or by e-mail at sharon [at] theexaminer [dot] com.