Article of Interest

Article of Interest

Houston Lawyers Help a Law Student in Crisis
By:  LaDelle “DeDe” Davenport

I recently heard a crisis interventionist answer an age-old question: How do we deal with tragedy, especially when bad things—terrible things—happen to good people? His answer was simple: Look for the helpers. He emphasized that there are almost always people helping out during tragic circumstances and that knowing about the helpers can revive our faith and hope in humanity. Recently, tragedy struck a friend and fellow law student at the University of Houston Law Center, and I am happy to report there were helpers who responded immediately.

My friend, Bo Schwerin, was elected editor in chief of the Houston Law Review in February 2014. Bo’s relentless positivity is well captured by his e-mail signature line: “Onwards and upwards.” His almost contagious positivity made him a welcomed and celebrated head of our journal. A family man who moved his family across the country to attend UHLC, Bo’s journey into the legal profession seemed to be moving in the right direction. He had summer associate positions secured and even a judicial clerkship lined up following graduation. Despite all the positive momentum occurring in the spring of 2014, Bo was not feeling very well. In May, just after final exams, the unimaginable happened: Doctors diagnosed Bo with leukemia. On the week he planned to begin his work at a law firm, Bo, instead, started aggressive chemotherapy treatments.

Out of love and concern for our leader, the members of Board 52 of the HLR took action and set up an online fundraising site in Bo’s name. Word of Bo’s diagnosis and the opportunity to offer financial help to him and his family spread rapidly through not only the UHLC family but also to the Houston legal community at large. Donations poured in along with well-wishes and promises of prayers and offers of support for Bo and his family. Donors included UHLC professors, staff, and students who knew Bo well along with former HLR members showing their continuing support by donating to a student they had never met. The same can be said for the broader Houston legal community as UHLC alumni and other local attorneys personally contributed and rallied their firms to donate to Bo’s fund.

Two helpers were so generous that they deserve special mention: Baker Hostetler and Shook, Hardy & Bacon, the two firms where Bo was to have worked as a summer associate. These firms each donated over $13,000, an amount replacing what would have been his salary had he been able to work. Lisa Pennington of Baker Hostetler commented that the firm was “happy to be able to help Bo and show support for his family in this difficult time.” With the addition of these two large donations to the 220 others, the fundraiser not only exceeded all expectations by eclipsing $48,000 but also serves as a reminder that the Houston legal community takes care of its own.

The outpouring of help and support by the Houston legal community showered the Schwerin family with love and strength as they began what will be a long and difficult road to recovery. The financial support so generously given to Bo will surely help relieve some of the pressure of the enormous expense that invariably accompanies serious medical care. For the rest of us moving forward, let this story of the helpers among us strengthen our pride in our legal community.

If you would like to help, please click here.

DeDe Davenport is a third-year law student at the University of Houston Law Center.

Bo, Christine, and Albee Schwerin.


Views and opinions expressed in eNews are those of their authors and not necessarily those of the Texas Young Lawyers Association or the State Bar of Texas.

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