Monday, June 17, 2013

Our Summer Volunteer Attorney Drive - a little time makes a big difference!

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Volunteer attorneys with our Legal Network gathered
at a recent thank-you reception. 
Attorney Brian Stolarz typically works on complex white-collar criminal defense  and commercial litigation matters.  But he carves out a few hours every month to take on and consult on more routine, simple pro bono cases through Catholic Charities Archdiocesan Legal Network.

“I often tell people that these cases are very small in the grand scheme of things, but very big for the people you help out,” Brian said, who works as Counsel at Jackson Kelly PLLC. “In so many situations, just having legal representation, especially in litigation matters can force someone to stop trying to take advantage of a person.”

Brian recalled one situation where a client came to the Legal Network after a former landlord secured a judgment against him for for bogus unpaid rent and damages to his apartment. As soon as the client had an attorney in court, the judgment was removed and the landlord even repaid the client his security deposit.

Brian estimates the case, in total, only took five to 10 hours of his time. For the client, however, it meant that he wasn’t scrambling to find thousands of dollars – which likely would have been garnished from his wages because of the judgment.

Just this week, a man who is homeless came to us seeking help expunging his criminal record. He was wrongly arrested for attempted murder and spent a few days in jail until the police caught the actual suspect, upon which he was released. It was a simple matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, the charge of attempted murder remained on his record, and he could never get a job because of it.

You can help this man get his life back. Sign up to be a pro bono attorney during our Summer Volunteer Attorney Drive. We are recruiting attorneys who are barred in Washington, DC and Maryland.

The time commitment is entirely up to you. Legal Network volunteers and staff screen each potential case thoroughly before making a recommendation to any pro bono attorneys. And a strong support network exists to seek advice on cases.

For more than 20 years, the Legal Network has existed to help level the playing field for low-income clients facing civil legal matters. Thousands of attorneys have given their time and talent to help represent clients in a wide range of matters.

This summer, join the ranks and make a huge difference for someone. As a huge bonus, you get to spend some time working with our Senior Program Manager, Jim Bishop. Jim is an absolute joy to work with – ask any of the hundreds of attorneys who have helped him in the Legal Network’s mission.

To volunteer, call Jim at 202-772-1201 or email at James.Bishop@CatholicCharitiesDC.org.