Editor's Column

Editor's Column

Pick a Partner, Take a Case and Win an IPAD!
By: Brooke Ulrickson Allen

Hopefully you have heard about Partnering for Pro Bono, an innovative new project to encourage and facilitate pro bono work between in-house counsel and law firm lawyers. After registering at www.tyla.org/partneringforprobono, in-house counsel lawyers are matched with law firm lawyers and the newly-formed team selects a case from the website. Once you have a match and select a case, your name is entered in a drawing to win an IPAD! The deadline to take a case for the contest is June 15, 2011 and the drawing will be at the State Bar Annual Meeting, June 23-24 in San Antonio. Plus, you can earn up to 5 hours of CLE for FREE!

Partnering for Pro Bono was introduced as an additional tool to assist the overflowing of cases handled by various legal aid entities. As you know, Texas attorneys are addressing less than 25% of legal needs of low income Texans today. While there is 1 lawyer for every 322 Texans, there is only 1 legal aid lawyer for every 11,512 poor Texans. Thus, Partnering for Pro Bono was implemented to encourage more attorneys to assist with the need.

As TYLA President Jennifer Evans Morris toured the state and listened to the reasons attorneys did not or could not participate in legal aid, she created a plan. By partnering to take a case, in-house counsel not licensed in Texas can participate with a licensed firm attorney. The work load is split between two attorneys instead of overwhelming one already-swamped firm associate. Both attorneys are covered by State Bar of Texas malpractice insurance. Plus, it provides a networking opportunity for all the attorneys involved and each attorney can earn up to 5 hours CLE.

Although most cases are litigation cases provided through the Texas Lawyers Help website, if you are interested in taking a transaction case, please contact Brooke Ulrickson Allen and she will try to accommodate your request as there are some transactional pro bono cases available.

Almost 100 Texas attorneys have already registered. Have you?