There's nothing like being 'home for the holidays' -- whether it's Christmas or July 4th. In a hard-fought custody case, volunteer attorneys, Jamie Berger
and Jimmy Michaels
of Barrasso Usdin
made sure that this Father's Day, their pro bono
client would be celebrating with his son by his side.
Interestingly, neither attorney had any experience in family law with
Jimmy admitted to the Bar only two weeks prior to the trial and Jamie coming back from a pre-Christmas vacation to take the lead in the case.
Both attorneys could have coasted quietly through the holidays and into the new year. Instead they chose to get involved, and in doing so became embroiled in a nasty dispute between the child's grandmother and father over custody.
After the young boy's mother tragically passed away, the child's maternal grandmother claimed their pro bono client was not the child's father, and obtained a temporary custody order.
|Jimmy Michaels |
The grandmother picked the boy up at school the same day, and the father was denied the right to see his son.
The grandmother then filed a petition to gain full and permanent custody of the boy, and the father contacted The Project for assistance. The Project brought Jamie and Jimmy together with the client and they took the case on his behalf.
After a day-long trial, the Court granted the client full and permanent custody, declaring him the boy's biological father. The child was returned to the father just in time to celebrate Christmas and New Year's, and now Father's Day at home. Perhaps, there is a Santa after all!
"It was a real thrill being able to actively participate in the trial and an even bigger thrill when the judge granted our client full custody of his son," said Jimmy about his first foray into pro bono Family Law.
Not all cases are this complex or intense, but the willingness of Jamie and Jimmy to venture into an area of the law that's not their practice area is what makes this kind of effort so special and rewarding for both our clients and volunteer attorneys.
With the guidance of The Project's staff, Board members and others, taking on a Family Law case -- even when it's not your area -- can be filled with joy and satisfaction at having used your legal skills well.
Our special thanks to Barrasso Usdin for their continuing commitment of time, talent and financial support to The Pro Bono Project, and to their recognition of the importance of pro bono service to the metropolitan community.
For more information or to take on a case in Family Law or any of the other practice areas available, please contact Linton Carney at 504.581.4043 x 207.