Celebrate National Pro Bono Week
The nation is celebrating pro bono during National Pro Bono Celebration Week, October 23 - 29, sponsored once again by the ABA's Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. See what's happening around the country here: NPBC
On Thursday, October 27 from 10 am to 2 pm, The Project and volunteer attorneys will provide legal counsel and advice to low-income clients on civil law issues at a clinic to be held at the Mahalia Jackson Community Center, 2405 Jackson Avenue, New Orleans, LA.
Please register as a volunteer by sending an email to Linton Carney.
For complete details on all National Pro Bono Week celebrations throughout Louisiana, see: NPBW-LA
National Pro Bono Week Free CLE Scheduled
With partners SLLS, Louisiana Appleseed and Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights under the Law, The Project will host a free three-hour CLE on preserving home ownership for low income people.
The CLE will take place October 25, 2011 at Adams & Reese, 701 Poydras, Suite 4500 in New Orleans. Time to be determined; 3 CLE credits.
Speakers include Malcolm Meyer and David Stein of Adams & Reese, Paul Tuttle from SLLS, Christy Kane and Jessie Haynes of Louisiana Appleseed and Chris Coty of The Project.
For more information or to register, please send an email to: Linton Carney.
Louisiana Justice Conference & LSBA CLEs In Baton Rouge
The LSBA Access to Justice Program is presenting the 8th Annual Louisiana Justice Community Conference, October 13th-14th at the Crowne Plaza Baton Rouge.
All programs on Thursday, October 13th are open to dedicated pro bono volunteer attorneys. Please register for Thursday's free CLEs through the LSBA CLE webpage, or directly by clicking 2011 Louisiana Justice Community Conference.
For questions about the conference program, contact Jonathan Rhodes; for online registration help, contact Rachael Mills.
Please join The Board and Staff of The Project in congratulating Executive Director, Rachel Piercey, recently named as a Women of the Year honoree by CityBusiness.
In it's 13th year, the WOTY honor recognizes 50 women who have helped move the region forward with energy, innovative ideas, achievements and a commitment to excellence.
CityBusiness is hosting an awards luncheon on Friday, November 4 at 12 noon at the Sheraton Hotel, where the Woman of the Year will be announced from among the 50 honorees. For more information or to make reservations for the event: CBWOTY
Our congratulations to all the honorees!
Celebrate Pro Bono & Be A Partner
Celebrate pro bono and please help us open the door for our clients and volunteers. Support The Project by clicking on the Louisiana Giving logo above.
Partner for Pro Bono
by checking the
"make this a recurring donation" box on The Project's donation page when you click the above link. Make your Annual Donation over 12 months.
Help us plan for the future by contacting
Rachel PIercey at 504.581.4043 about the Pro Bono for Life Planned Giving program.
It looks like we can breathe a sigh of relief as another hurricane season winds down. Time sure does fly and Autumn promises to be very busy for The Project, but then, when are we not busy? But, before we get too busy, let's talk about why we do what we do.
Yes, our volunteer attorneys can fulfill their pro bono commitment through their work with The Project. Yes, our staff gets to work on some extraordinary cases and gets the experience of working with some of the metro area's top notch attorneys.
But, The Project's real 'raison d'etre' is to help our clients get back on track -- whether that's rebuilding their lives, their homes or their families. We are all here because our clients need us to do only what we can do -- resolve a legal problem that's stopping them from moving forward. We'll share one client's story in this issue to remind us all why pro bono continues to matter.
In addition to that, we'll give you a heads up on how the metro New Orleans area is celebrating National Pro Bono Week, October 23-29, 2011. There will be a Day of Service, CLEs and other events going on around the state, as well as other public service opportunities throughout the month.
Finally, be on the lookout the first week in October as your 2011 Justice For All Ball invitation will be arriving. Come celebrate The Project's 25th Anniversary with us -- the JFAB Committee and Honorary Co-Chairs Marian and Larry Gibbs have done a bang up job this year!
Even though time does fly, our thanks to you for making it count!
All the best,
PS -- Spread the word about The Pro Bono Project by using the new social media buttons and connect this newsletter to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media page. Thanks!
What's In A Name ...
"What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet," said William Shakespeare a few centuries ago.
But, what happens when your name prevents you from collecting Social Security and Disability benefits, because you've changed your name and that new name is not legally recognized by the state which controls all those benefits? For Langley Stewart*, it was a nightmare.
Single Mom, Supportive Uncle ...
Langley was born in St. Martin** parish to Sarah Stewart* and Langley Atkinson* and his birth certificate read, Langley Atkinson, Jr.* But, his parents separated, and at the age of 8 months, Sarah could no longer afford to care for her child as a single parent, and Langley was sent to live with his uncle, Bob Stewart* in north Louisiana.
As a result, Langley simply took his uncle's last name as his, and from that point forward, all of his legal records showed him as Langley Atkinson Stewart. His military duty, Social Security, school records, driver's license all showed this as his legal name. But, in fact, his birth certificate continued to show him as Langley Atkinson, Jr.
Now, as an adult, Langley was faced with a multitude of health and disability issues and was seeking Social Security and Disability benefits. It was then that his name became an issue -- his birth certificate said one name, Langley Atkinson, Jr., and everything else had the name he had used all his life, Langley Atkinson Stewart.
The state of Texas, where he presently lives, had no problem certifying the name change, but when he wanted to have this accepted in Louisiana, where many of his benefits had accrued, the state refused to accept Texas' certification. He had to prove that the two names were the same person.
Langley was referred to The Project and at first it looked as though there was nothing that could be done since his parish of birth was St. Martin and that was outside The Project's jurisdiction. But, since all vital records for the state are kept in Orleans Parish, the door was opened for Langley to perhaps get what he so desperately needed -- his own name.
One of The Project's longtime volunteers, solo practitioner, Michael Duplantier decided to take Langley's case. With Mike's legal skills, and the willingness to give of his time, Mike was able to secure the needed name change and Langley's lifelong name became his legal name on his birth certifcate. Finally, Langley was able to apply for the Social Security and Disability benefits he so desperately needed.
"Before utilizing The Pro Bono Project, I was unable to get my situation resolved. Now I can file for Social Security disability or for regular Social Security benefits, whichever comes first.
"The resolution was handled beyond my expectations and the attorney, in my opinion, went over and beyond normal realms, because he made a personal sacrifice with his time and professional assistance," said Langley
Sometimes, we forget that pro bono matters but it's cases just like this -- something so simple as the legal recognition of a person's lifelong name -- that help remind us how important the work we do really is. Thanks to volunteer attorneys like Michael Duplantier, we are able to make a real difference in opening the door for those in need of civil legal services.
Tell Us Your Story
Do you have a story about one of The Project's clients for whom you've handled a case and want to share it with your fellow volunteer attorneys and other supporters of The Project?
Then please help us by sending an email to Linton Carney. Even though we get a 'closed case' file from you, we don't always know the whole story.
We know that as volunteers you have to form a special relationship with the pro bono client in order to build the kind of trust that these clients often need in order to resolve their legal problems.
We usually hear about these stories at Volunteer Appreciation time in December, but we truly want to hear from you all year long. Your story with that client is our story. It's what The Project is here for -- our 'raison d'etre.'
Please send your client stories to Linton Carney and help us tell our story. Thanks for your help.
* The client's name, and the names of his family members, have been changed to protect client confidentiality.
** The parish name has been changed to protect client confidentiality.
Invitations on the Way!
Please be on the lookout for your 2011 Justice For All Ball invitations -- they will be in the mail soon and you'll get your first glimpse at Garland Robinette's beautiful interpretation of Lady Justice.
The beautiful oil painting will be auctioned live at the Ball on Friday, November 4 from 8:00 PM until midnight. Guest auctioneer, attorney and Gambit publisher Clancy Dubos will be enticing all to "bid high and bid often" at the microphone.
We've got some funky strutting music and good eating lined up for this year's JFAB, which by the way celebrates The Project's 25th year of providing pro bono civil legal services to clients in the metro area.
Get your dancing shoes ready for Louisiana's own Jon Cleary's Philthy Phew who will be rocking The Audubon Tea Room beginning at 9:00 PM until midnight.
Individual and raffle tickets may be purchased online NOW at: JFAB 2011 TIckets
Sponsorships for law firms and area businesses are also available by contacting Rachel Piercey at: JFAB 2011 or 504.581.4043. These packages include with tickets to the Ball and Patron Party, as well as various promotional opportunities.
The Pro Bono Project's mission is to provide free, quality civil legal services to the poor by engaging volunteer attorneys to render pro bono services. The Project serves Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany and Washington Parishes with funding from the Justice For All Ball and other sources. The Project works in collaboration with other legal and social service providers to improve the quality of life for our clients and our community.