Divorce Workshops Are Back!
We are excited to announce the revival of our
a great way to get some hours toward fulfillment of your commitment to pro bono and perform one of our most-demanded services. You do not need expertise in family law - it's just three easy steps. Here's how it works.
You come to the PBP offices for a few hours to meet with clients to sign their 103(1) divorce petitions. All of the paperwork will have been prepared by Project staff and will be ready and waiting for you.
You meet briefly with each client, go over the pleadings, and answer any questions.
The PBP will file the documents with the court and prepare all the other necessary paperwork to finalize these divorces, which are almost always uncontested.
Any other paperwork, which an attorney needs to sign will be e-mailed to you; you print it out, sign it, and return it to the PBP. Our staff will process the pleadings and handle all client contact.
That's it! You earn pro bono credit for all time you spend throughout the process; the clients get their divorces; and the Project's backlog of cases gets cleared: a win-win for everyone!
To sign up, please contact Zakiya LaGrange or at 504.581.4043 or Lindsey Ladouceur or at 985.898.2131, ext. 1007.
Thank you so much for your help!
Kudos, Welcomes, etc ...
Welcome to new Board member representing the Jefferson Parish Bar Association,
of Gauthier, Houghtaling & Williams. Prior to joing GWH, Kim served as the former Senior Assitant District Attorney for Orleans Parish and has worked closely with the Ford Foundation to promote the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast following Katrina.
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Welcome to new Board member Kim Perret, Chief Marketing Officer
at Jones Walker. Prior to joining the Board, Kim served as a member of the Resource Development Committee and serves presently as its Chair. Kim returns to the New Orleans area from Washington DC.
Open Some Doors -
Support The Project Now!
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 always seems like we're celebrating something around here - this month it's French Quarter Festival and JazzFest! But, even more important than our famous fests is the good work our volunteers do for our clients and The Project. To honor and thank them for their service to our metro community, please join us in celebrating National Volunteer Week, April 21-27.
If you are a volunteer -- whether for The Project or any other organization, we salute you! If you're not, how's about getting involved? We have lots of things to accomplish and can always use the extra help - take a case, volunteer for a clinic, serve on a committee, throw a fundraiser - there's always something to do that only you can do! Send us an email and let us know how you want to volunteer your time and talent.
Speaking of volunteers - we have a few stories for you in this issue that only further prove the value of volunteering - not just for those in need, but for the volunteers, as well.
We asked you last month to mark your calendar's for the 2013 Justice For All Ball on Friday, September 20 at the Audubon Tea Room from 8:00 pm to Midnight. Please join the JFAB Committee, The Project's Board and Staff in welcoming this year's Honorary Chair, Mr. Walter E. Blessey, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Blessey Marine Services, Inc., who is also the Presenting Sponsor of our 25th Anniversary Ball. Look for more about Mr. Blessey and Blessey Marine in the May issue of In Brief.
Finally, we are also pleased to announce that this year's JFAB invitation art will be created by photographer and artist, J. Stirling Barrett, who promises a new twist on a familiar theme: Justice for All!
Time for a little second-lining and Crawfish Monica! See you at Jazz Fest!
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!
The Most Valuable Thing
Sometimes people come to The Project because some small action they took resulted in a big mess. This recently happened when a yet to be client, Joan Skelton*
believed she was being cheated out of her hard-earned dollars by an unscrupulous lender.
To get their attention, Mrs. Skelton simply stopped making payments on her loan. It indeed got the lender's attention - they began to add fees and penalties to her loan, while harassing her with threatening phone calls, and ultimately, creating even bigger financial problems for her.
She tried to convince the lender that they had misapplied her payments, even calling the State Attorney General's office seeking help, but had no luck getting the lender to see her point of view. Finally, she contacted The Project for help.
It took Entergy's Rob Hess, Associate General Counsel for Commercial Transactions to unravel the mess and get Mrs. Skelton off the worry bus and back on the right road.
Entergy's Rob Hess
"I enjoyed getting to know Mrs. Skelton and working with her. I spent many hours talking with her by phone and meeting with her to get to the root cause of the problem," explains Rob.
After several calls to the lender and the ability to successfully connect with the lender's representative, Rob could see how the problem started and how to solve it.
"The lender sent over the complete file of the payments Mrs. Skeleton had made - it was pretty confusing, even for me, so I could clearly see how she thought her payments were misapplied," he explained.
Rob created a spreadsheet showing how and when Mrs. Skelton's payments were applied, and then he thoroughly reviewed it with her until she understood exactly what had happened.
"Mr. Hess made sure I understood what he did by [using] charts, meetings to explain, hands-on [attention] and various printouts. I received a clearer understanding and was able to make the payments to correct the amount I owed. I am soon to pay the car off. Mr. Hess did a great job," explained Mrs. Skelton.
Because Rob had taken the time to create good rapport with the lender's representative, he was able to negotiate a reduction in Mrs. Skelton's fees and penalties. It didn't seem like much of a financial reward but the peace of mind Mrs. Skelton got in return had more value than money. It helped her to put the dispute behind her and move on with her life.
"The experience helped to reinforce that at times the most valuable thing you can give to someone is your time and attention," said Rob.
* Name changed to protect confidentiality.
Volunteers Support Our Veterans
On Thursday, March 21st, The Project along with the Young Lawyers Division of the New Orleans Chapter of the Federal Bar Association (FBA) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 8973 conducted their first clinic for Veterans from noon to 4:00 pm at the VFW Hall on Lyons Street. We're pleased to tell you that it was a huge success and that our volunteer turnout was spectacular!
This is a new service area for The Project and one that is much needed as it turns out. Veterans from across the city turned up for the clinic and more than 26 cases were handled by volunteers.
|Volunteers & Veterans Serving Each Other|
Cases included various issues with the Veterans Administration
(luckily, several representatives of the VA were also on hand), as well as divorces, civil rights violations, succession issues, advice about criminal expungements, traffic tickets, child support and construction contracts problems.
"This was an extremely successful clinic for the clients, our volunteer panel and our visiting law students. We weren't sure how great the need would be and are so grateful to the Young Lawyer Section of the NOLA Chapter of the FBA and the VFW Post 8973 for their support in organizing this first effort. We even recruited several new volunteer lawyers," explained The Project's Chief Legal Officer, Linton Carney.
A little time and attention can go a long way in changing the course of someone's life, and the Veterans know this all too well. The Project and its volunteers are delighted to be a part of this effort to support our Veterans. We expect to be hosting additional clinics and will keep you posted.
Our thanks to all our volunteers and law students who helped make this a huge win-win for all!
Shop 'til You Drop & Give to The Project!
Earn money for The Pro Bono Project every time you do the things you do everyday:
The Pro Bono Project's mission is to provide free, quality civil legal services to the underserved by engaging volunteer lawyers 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.