Legal Aid Lawyers in Richmond Va

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Legal Aid Lawyers in Richmond Va Powered By Docstoc
					Access to Legal Services

               Virginia State Bar Pro Bono Award Goes to
                  Richmond Lawyer and U.Va. Program
                        John M. Oakey Jr.,               Richmond area; and management of court       The nomination of the Caplin Center’s vol-
                        a lawyer who has                 appointments in cases involving family       unteer attorneys for the Powell Award was
                        dedicated himself                law, insurance coverage, excess judgments    endorsed by George H. Hettrick of
                        to pro bono work                 and personal injury, where needy clients     Hunton Williams. Hettrick works with a
                        in retirement, and               did not qualify for pro bono help from       program that gives U.Va. students an early
                        volunteer lawyers                legal aid.                                   introduction to public-interest law by
                        with the University                                                           helping domestic-violence victims and
                        of Virginia Law                  Oakey serves in the leadership of the        immigrants seeking asylum.
                        School’s Mortimer                Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, the
                        Caplin       Public              Legal Aid Justice Center and the Greater     In his letter, Hettrick wrote: “The high
Service Center have been named 2007                      Richmond Bar Foundation. He participates     level of institutional resources and support
recipients of the Lewis F. Powell Pro Bono               in the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation’s     from the U.Va. Law School for pro bono
Award by the Virginia State Bar’s                        Pro Bono Clearinghouse, which helps          and public service programs is unmatched
Committee on Access to Legal Services.                   nonprofit corporations and he mentors        in Virginia’s legal education.”
                                                         other McGuireWoods lawyers involved in
Since     Oakey’s       retirement     from              pro bono work.                               The Powell Award, named for a former
McGuireWoods LLP, he has taken up many                                                                associate justice of the U.S. Supreme
legal projects as a volunteer. His pro bono              Oakey was nominated for the Powell           Court, recognizes dedication to pro bono
work has included representation of                      Award by W. Reilly Marchant of the           legal work in Virginia. It will be presented
clients through the Richmond Legal Aid                   Richmond Bar Association and Scott C.        during the VSB’s Pro Bono Conference
Housing Program; prosecution of child                    Oostdyk of McGuireWoods.                     May 17–18 at the University of Richmond.
support cases in Richmond; representation
of domestic-violence victims in the

         Free and Low-Cost Pro Bono Training
     Visit the Pro Bono page on the VSB Web site for free and low-cost pro bono trainings
                                                                                                         Virginia State Bar
  and volunteer opportunities:                          Publications
                                                                                                         The Virginia State Bar publishes
                                                                                                         pamphlets and handbooks on law-
                                                                                                         related issues for Virginia’s lawyers
                                                                                                         and Virginia’s citizens. Please note
              For confidential toll-free consultation                                                    that some are available in bulk

          available to all Virginia attorneys on questions related to legal malpractice avoidance,
                                                                                                         quantities, and others only in single

         claims repair, professional liability insurance issues and law office management, call the      copies. All publications can be

                          VSB’s risk manager, McLean lawyer John J. Brandt, at                           found on the VSB Web site at
                                       1- 800-215-7854.

28                   April 2007
                                                                                                    Access to Legal Services

                            William & Mary Student Named
                               Pro Bono Award Winner
Maryann P. Nolan, a third-year law student   • An internship in Cordoba, Argentina,       • The W&M Honor
at the College of William & Mary, has been     with the Center for Human Rights and         Council — She was
named the 2007 recipient of the Oliver         the Environment.                             a justice.
White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award
by the Virginia State Bar Committee on       • America      Reads — She     tutored       Nolan, who grew up
Access to Legal Services.                      Williamsburg      elementary - school      in Clifton, received
                                               pupils who struggle with reading and       bachelor’s   degrees
Nolan performed more than one thousand         learning English.                          from the University of
hours of uncompensated or minimally                                                       Virginia.
compensated public service and super-        • The William & Mary Public Service
vised legal work while in law school. Her      Fund, which raises and allocates money     The Hill Award, named for the Richmond
projects included:                             to help repay tuition loans for students   attorney who led challenges to school seg-
                                               who work in public service.                regation as part of Brown v. Board of
• The Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights
                                                                                          Education, recognizes a student’s volun-
  Coalition — She visited Virginia deten-
  tion centers to educate residents about    • The W&M Chapter of the Innocence           tary and minimally compensated public-
  legal rights and to provide legal sup-       Project, which works to exonerate con-     service work. Nolan was nominated by
  port services.                               victed persons through DNA testing.        Associate Dean Robert E. Kaplan of the
                                                                                          W&M School of Law. The award will be
• The Fairfax Public Defender office —       • The Children’s Advocacy Law Society—       presented during the VSB Pro Bono
  She interviewed clients, visited jails       She organized panels and speakers to       Conference May 17–18 at the University of
  and wrote legal memoranda for the            talk about legal issues that affect        Richmond.
  clients’ attorneys.                          children and families.

                                                                                                     Virginia Lawyer             29
Access to Legal Services

 The Professional Benefits of Pro Bono: Two Portraits
                                       by A. Michael Signer, Samantha Ahuja and Stephen J. Klos

In the December 2006 issue of Virginia          invited Legal Services of Northern Virginia         so that the associates are not hin-
Lawyer, members of the Pro Bono                 to brief its attorneys on domestic and con-         dered by their billable requirements.
Commission of the Young Lawyers                 sumer issues. Attorneys in the office are
Conference of the Virginia State Bar pub-       currently determining the areas in which       Partners and associates find value in pro
lished an article that described the results    they would like to provide pro bono ser-       bono — especially in a firm whose profit
of a survey of select Virginia law firms’ pro   vices. LSNV will provide training and sup-     base (IP) may not seem connected to
bono efforts. The article discussed both        port. The firm is also considering joining a   pro bono representation. The firm
the pros and cons of Virginia firms’ pro        “Lawyers on Loan” program, which would         makes pro bono easy for associates to
bono performance. The next step in the          allow for a first-, second- or third-year      perform, and it builds pro bono into the
Pro Bono Commission’s plan for this year        associate to work with a legal aid associa-    company’s infrastructure.
was to interview two Virginia firms to gain     tion. Peter J. Ennis, another partner, said
more information on the benefits and            that the firm has infrastructure in its         Sands Anderson Marks & Miller
challenges of pro bono representation for       Pittsburgh headquarters that makes it eas-     Sands Anderson Marks & Miller PC is
firms. The Pro Bono Commission advo-            ier for associates to start pro bono work.     based in Richmond with thirty-one share-
cates a larger pro bono role in the for-        Ennis said the firm hopes to implement         holders and forty-three associates. The
profit Virginia legal community.                this model in the Alexandria office and        firm does not have a minimum annual bill-
                                                provide set times, training and infrastruc-    able requirement. The firm gives 100 per-
The Pro Bono Commission recently inter-         ture with local clinics. These clinics are     cent credit for hours spent on pro bono
viewed partners and associates at two law       available to all lawyers at the firm.          representation and takes pro bono repre-
firms: Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC                                                          sentation into consideration for bonuses.
and Sands Anderson Marks & Miller PC.           Ennis described the firm’s approach to the     About half of associates and about 70 per-
Interview results emphasized the crucial        professional benefits of pro bono:             cent of shareholders work on pro bono.
role pro bono has in the professional                                                          However, only 1 percent of the firm’s bill-
development of young lawyers across the             The pro bono efforts within the firm       ables go to pro bono each year, and the
commonwealth.                                       allow for the attorneys to work on         firm’s attorneys average twenty-five hours
                                                    something different. It broadens their     a year.
     Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney                    knowledge of the law, allows junior
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC is an                lawyers to gain more experience,           The Pro Bono Commission interviewed N.
intellectual property practice located in           allows better networking within the        Reid Broughton, a counsel in the firm’s
Alexandria with twenty-one partners and             bar—and all of those lead to the con-      New River Valley office. He practices in
eighteen associates. The office has a mini-         sequence of recognition of the firm.       the firm’s business, finance and real estate,
mum yearly billable requirement of 1,950                                                       business and professional litigation, and
hours, toward which one hundred hours           Ennis said challenges include “demonstrat-     health-care practices.
of pro bono representation may be               ing that many people are involved, not just
counted. Pro bono also is considered in         a few—achieving critical mass.”                Broughton explained his own emphasis
bonuses. On average, 5 percent of attor-                                                       on pro bono: “[A] number of friends I have
neys’ total hours are pro bono.                 Jaime S. Tuite, an associate, said Buchanan    ... are involved in pro bono, which creates
                                                Ingersoll’s approach to pro bono succeeds      a good environment for volunteering.” His
The Alexandria office does primarily intel-     because “it is not just lip service.”          pro bono practice focuses on family law,
lectual property work. The Pro Bono                                                            which “has provided me the opportunity
Commission focused on the firm because          She explained:                                 to be introduced to a completely different
of its emphasis on pro bono.                                                                   area of practice for me.”
                                                    The firm makes it a priority. The firm
Lloyd S. Smith is a partner in the firm and         connects real credit to the pro bono       And his pro bono work has conferred
a member of the firm’s intellectual prop-           services provided by its lawyers.          special advantages on his relationships
erty litigation section. Smith told us,             There is an infrastructure in place for    with jurists:
because of the difficulty of finding IP pro         the associates to immediately tap into
bono work, the Alexandria office recently

30                 April 2007
                                                                                                        Access to Legal Services

    It has given me the opportunity to        tunities to bring balance to her career and     have a leaning toward pro bono. It
    appear before judges in a family law      her life outside of work:                       would be even more admirable if its
    setting. The judges also understand                                                       commitment could be increased to 3 per-
    that you are working on a pro bono             I have been involved in meetings at        cent from 1 percent. It is hoped the ben-
    case and really appreciate the work            school for my little sister from the Big   efits described in this article, as well as
    that you do.                                   Brothers/Big Sisters program. I have       enthusiastically described by Sands
                                                   reviewed her education plan and            Anderson’s own attorneys, will convince
Sands Anderson has a culture of encour-            have worked with her parents to            small and midsize firms across the
aging pro bono. Broughton said that the            make decisions concerning her edu-         commonwealth to increase their aver-
firm “provides a great deal of encourage-          cation. This is a departure from my        age pro bono hours to at least the 3
ment to get involved in pro bono work.”            traditional practice.                      percent goal set by American Bar
He explained: “[Pro bono] is an institution                                                   Association Model Rule 6.1, and to
at the firm, and the firm provides billing    Pemberton says that she was drawn to            credit all of these hours in both yearly
credit for the pro bono work the attorneys    Sands Anderson because of its reputation        minimums and bonus considerations.
do in the community.”                         for being involved in pro bono. Part of the
                                              mission for Pemberton is personal. “I also
Jayne Ann Pemberton is an associate in        think that I need to do my part to help
the firm’s Richmond office. She explained     people see the good work that lawyers do
how she got involved in pro bono work:        in their communities. Lawyers are often             A. Michael Signer is chair of the
                                                                                                  Young Lawyers Conference’s Pro Bono
                                              portrayed in a negative light, and this is an
                                                                                                  Commission. He practices with Wilmer
    It was always an emphasis in my fam-      opportunity to show that we care about              Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP in
    ily growing up. My father was a judge     more than the bottom line.”                         Washington, D.C.
    in Texas, and public service and vol-
    unteering were strongly encouraged.       Sands Anderson Marks & Miller, like any             Samantha Ahuja is vice chair of the
    I got involved with Big Brothers/Big      small or midsize Virginia firm, faces chal-         Pro Bono Commission. She practices
    Sisters because my brother was            lenges in balancing the imperatives of              with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice
                                                                                                  LLP in Washington, D.C.
    involved in the local Texas chapter.      for-profit and pro bono representation.
                                              The firm is to be congratulated for build-          Stephen J. Klos is on the Pro Bono
While her volunteer work has not always       ing a culture of support for pro bono and           Commission’s steering committee.
been strictly legal in nature, Pemberton      for crediting hours, and for recruiting
says that it has provided her with oppor-     and encouraging attorneys who already

                                                                                                         Virginia Lawyer                 31

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