The following is reprinted from Robert Miller’s column in the business section of The Dallas Morning News Sunday, February 8, 2015.
The Dallas Bar Association and Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas set a record this year, raising $1,100,415 in their Equal Access to Justice Campaign.
The fundraiser supports the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, which offers free legal assistance to more than 4,000 low-income families each year. The campaign raises money from Dallas lawyers to fund pro bono legal services for the poor.
Laura Benitez Geisler of the Geisler Law Firm and Robert Tobey of Johnston Tobey PC co-chaired the 2014-15 campaign.
“The growth of our EAJ Campaign totals has been phenomenal,” said Brad Weber, 2015 president of the Dallas Bar Association. “In 2009, we raised about $544,000. This year we topped $1.1 million — a 102 percent gain over six years.”
Campaign proceeds will be used to continue to expand the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program’s work in the community. More than 600,000 people meet legal aid’s financial guidelines for assistance in Dallas, so program organizers are still working to recruit more volunteer attorneys, especially ones who can represent clients in complex cases and contested family law cases.
Donors of $10,000 and more included:
$30,000: Crain Lewis LLP.
$25,000: Connatser Family Law; Energy Future Holdings, Luminant and TXU Energy;Deborah G. Hankinson; and Payne Mitchell Law Group.
$15,000: Andrews Kurth LLP, AT&T Inc., E. Leon & Debra Carter and Locke Lord LLP.
$10,000: Jerry C. Alexander, Baker Botts LLP, Deans & Lyons LLP, Dubose Law Firm PLLC, Dykema, Exxon Mobil Corp., Fluor Corp., Gardere Wynne Sewell, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Godwin Lewis PC, The Hartnett Law Firm, Haynes and Boone Foundation, Jackson Walker LLP, Jones Day, KoonsFuller, Mike McKool Jr., Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, Sidley & Austin LLP, Thompson & Knight Foundation, Robert L. Tobey and Vinson & Elkins LLP.
The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program is a joint program of the Dallas Bar Association and Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas. It conducts neighborhood legal clinics each month at seven community locations and also provides specialty legal clinics for veterans and the elderly. It recruits and trains the attorneys and provides staff support to the volunteers.
To learn more about the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program or the Equal Access to Justice Campaign, contact Alicia Hernandez, the program’s director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214-220-7499, or visit dallasvolunteerattorneyprogram.org.
The Dallas Bar Association is a voluntary organization of more than 11,000 Dallas-area attorneys. Its website is dallasbar.org.