Husch Blackwell has a long-standing commitment to providing pro bono legal services to individuals, public service groups and charitable organizations that are unable to pay for the legal representation they need. We encourage our attorneys to provide pro bono legal services, engage in activities that improve access to justice for all, and provide financial support for organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means. We are a Signatory Member of the Pro Bono Institute's Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, a national organization that encourages pro bono work in law firms across the country.
Our attorneys provide pro bono legal services to individuals and groups referred to us from various agencies including Jewish Vocational Services, Rocky Mountain Immigration Services, Center for Missing & Exploited Children, various legal service corporations, Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts, and many more. Our attorneys also volunteer their services via area bar associations, such as The Missouri Bar, The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, Colorado Volunteer Lawyers Association, Kansas City Women Lawyers Association and many others.
Full billable hour credits are given to our attorneys for time spent on pro bono matters.
We support our attorneys with specialized training in the areas of law the volunteer attorneys routinely handle. Continuing Legal Education classes are held throughout the year on various topics.
Below are some of our long-term pro bono initiatives.
Legal Services Corporation Entities
We make a significant commitment to Legal Services Corporations (LSC). Several attorneys in our Chattanooga, Peoria, Kansas City, St. Louis, Denver and Springfield offices are involved in the LSC's Volunteer Lawyers Projects. These programs are designed to provide legal services for those without the financial ability to acquire needed legal advice. We primarily handle landlord/tenant and family law cases through the Volunteer Lawyers Program.
Kids in Need of Defense
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) was created in 2008, by Microsoft Corporation and humanitarian actress Angelina Jolie to aid children from other countries who enter the United States alone. Because there is no right to appointed counsel in immigration proceedings, KIND has developed a pro bono network of law firms, corporate law departments, NGOs and solo practitioners to represent unaccompanied immigrant children in the U.S. immigration system, and to ensure that children do not have to attend court alone. As part of that network, Husch Blackwell volunteer attorneys represent children in state and federal immigration court seeking various forms of immigration relief, including Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and asylum.
Children with Disabilities
This is a collaborative effort with The Children's Legal Alliance and St. Louis University School of Law's Legal Clinic, Barnes Jewish Christian and Judevine. Volunteer lawyers assist families with children who are diagnosed with disorders on the autism spectrum. The volunteer attorneys work with families in disputes over educational services, medical reimbursements, landlord/tenant matters, and other legal issues. Our estate planning attorneys also draw up special trusts and wills for these families.
Operation Excel YouthBuild
In November 2005, we began a partnership with Saint Louis University School of Law Clinic to provide pro bono legal services to low income students enrolled in Operation Excel YouthBuild. YouthBuild USA is a national nonprofit whose mission is to encourage low-income young people between the ages of 18-24 years old to rebuild their communities and their lives. Like many of their peers, YouthBuild students often face legal problems that for most would be minor inconveniences, but for under-educated and unemployed young people, create serious obstacles to employment and other aspects of daily life. Attorneys provide representation to YouthBuild students, assisting them to resolve outstanding misdemeanor warrants and secure arrangements to pay fines or perform community service.
Grace Hill Settlement House, a member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis, works in partnership with neighbors to identify the social and economic challenges in North and South St. Louis, and establish families and communities that are strong and self-sustaining. We have partnered with Grace Hill for over five years to provide legal advice and services to neighbors. Volunteer attorneys donate their time and talents to represent neighbors with a wide range of legal issues including: child custody and visitation, wills, immigration, tax issues, identity theft, employment discrimination and housing.
Legal Aid of East Tennessee
Our firm supports LAET, a legal services provider working in 26 counties in East Tennessee to meet the civil legal needs of those who cannot afford a lawyer. It is the mission of Legal Aid of East Tennessee to ensure equal justice for low-income people by providing a broad scope of legal assistance and advocacy. Our lawyers work with Legal Aid of East Tennessee to respectfully help individual clients identify and meet their needs for legal representation and empowerment.
Colorado Legal Aid
Metro Volunteer Lawyers, a department of the Denver Bar Association with over 45 years of providing free and low-cost civil legal services to the poor and near-poor citizens of seven Metro Denver Counties through the efforts of five Metro Denver local bar associations. Volunteer lawyers register themselves with Metro Volunteer Lawyers and assist citizens, who could not otherwise afford legal services, with a variety of civil legal issues. Numerous Husch Blackwell lawyers volunteer their time and have accepted cases from Metro Volunteer Lawyers over the years.
Colorado Lawyers Committee
Our Denver attorneys are active members of the Colorado Lawyers Committee, a consortium of 58 Colorado law firms with almost 1,400 attorneys who volunteer their time to find solutions to significant problems that impact children and the underprivileged. Several attorneys in our Denver office volunteer in a number of Colorado Lawyers Committee programs, including Legal Night Clinics for individuals and families who cannot afford legal services; the NonProfit Working Group, which provides pro bono representation to nonprofits; Project Homeless Connect, a one-day event that connects homeless individuals to services including legal assistance; and the Sixth Amendment Task Force, which advocates for indigent individuals’ right to counsel.
Faculty of Federal Advocates
The Faculty of Federal Advocates is an organization of attorneys dedicated to improving the quality of legal practice in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. Several litigators in our Denver office participate in the Faculty of Federal Advocates’ Counsel/Co-Counsel Program, which provides representation to indigent parties in civil cases that, the Judges have determined, are sufficiently complicated to warrant the appointment of counsel. Through this program, our attorneys have handled several significant civil rights cases and have obtained favorable results for our clients at trial and in settlement.
Juvenile Detention Docket
Our attorneys represent juveniles charged in delinquency matters in their preliminary, protective custody hearing before the court. This is a limited representation of the juvenile on the issue of detention prior to Arraignment. Husch Blackwell attorneys handle a weekly docket and review the charges for probable cause, counsel the juvenile on their rights and the court process and advocate for their placement pending further proceedings. Often our attorneys provide the first opportunity for many juveniles to be assisted with understanding their circumstance and to have someone listen to their story. We were asked a number of years ago to assist with the detention docket by the Court when the Missouri Public Defenders Office could no longer spare the man power. Had our firm not participated, juveniles would go before the Court without representation and an understanding of their rights.
Legal Aid of Western Missouri (LAWMo)
Husch Blackwell attorneys in our Kansas City office provide legal services to low-income individuals and families by partnering with LAWMo. With the help of volunteers, LAWMo is able to assist over 20,000 people each year with problems that affect their ability to provide for themselves and their families.