OneJustice Blog

Bring life-changing legal help to Californians in need.

Pro bono means safety, security, and love

Pro bono makes all the difference for families.

Safety from violence.  Security after heart-breaking loss.  Keeping loved ones together.

Today’s daily dose of the power of pro bono focuses on families.  One mom helping another – and it just happens that one is a pro bono attorney and the other is escaping an abusive relationship.  Children who need the stability of loved ones in the face of heart-wrenching loss.  Family members who face legal barriers to staying together.

These stories could have happened to our neighbors, co-workers, and friends– and they might be similar to our own experiences.  Nothing is more central to the human experience than family. And what made the difference in each of these stories of loss and crisis?  Attorneys who were willing to donate their time, expertise, and energy to give back.

During this Celebrate Pro Bono Week and Campaign for Justice month, we raise a glass to all the amazing attorneys who step in to provide life-changing legal assistance to families in need.  Thank you.

What pro bono have YOU done for a family or a child?  Share your pro bono stories with us, as the OneJustice networks celebrates the power of pro bono to make all the difference!

5 responses to “Pro bono means safety, security, and love

  1. Diego Cartagena October 24, 2013 at 9:53 am

    I’ve had the honor of working with dozens and dozens of law students and attorneys who volunteer to represent grandparents, aunts and uncles, and family friends through guardianship proceedings. These caregivers are incredible people. They step up to the plate and assume responsibility for a child, many of whom have been in desperate need of a loving caregiver and a stable home. But these caregivers often can’t do it alone. They need someone to help decipher complicated court forms. They need skilled attorneys to represent them at the hearings. Truth be told, the hearings are not terribly complicated, if you are an attorney. But they can be terribly frightening for someone who has never been to court, for example, or who doesn’t speak English. So these students and attorneys step up to the plate, and stand right next to our clients, representing and guiding them through the entire process. It’s incredible. Instead of tears of frustration, our clients sometimes cry tears of joy because they know the child whose hand they are holding is now safe and secure. It’s really one of the most incredible things, and I can’t thank all of the attorneys who I have worked with on these cases enough. We will never truly know the full impact they have had on the lives of hundreds of children, but I know deep down that it is an important and positive impact.

  2. Sharon Balmer Cartagena October 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    I represent young parents in family court and immigration proceedings as part of TEEN/LA, a project of the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice. Two years ago an 18 year old girl came to me asking for advice on child custody. When I started talking to her, I realized that what she really wanted was a domestic violence restraining order (RO) that included child custody provisions. With the help of pro bono attorneys from Jones Day, this teen was granted a 3 year RO and sole legal and physical custody of her daughter. Later, when her child’s father violated the restraining order and physically assaulted my client in a fast food restaurant in front of the child, I represented her on an emergency request to the Family Court to suspend all visitation with the baby’s father, which was granted. I also helped her press the Sheriff to pursue charges against him, which ultimately resulted in a felony conviction. As a result of her cooperation with the criminal case, my client was certified for a U visa – and just last week, we found out that my client, along with her mother and younger sister, had been approved for U Visas! My client is now 20 years old and attending classes to get her GED. I am so proud of her strength through this whole process and happy to have been part of her journey for safety, security, and a better life for her family.

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