Dallas Volunteer Attorney Project (DVAP) staff members carried 27 pro bono cases to the Dallas Bar Association’s (DBA) family law bench-bar conference on Feb. 8 in Addison. By the time the conference ended that evening, a volunteer family law attorney had claimed every single case, says Alicia Hernandez, DVAP director.
“The cases are more complicated than a lot of the other cases we might send out to volunteers,” Hernandez says. “These are family law attorneys, and they know family law. We take the more difficult cases we see and place them with folks who practice family law.
For example, one of the 27 cases involves a client who wants to move out-of-state to be near family to help raise a child. But there is a restriction on the client’s ability to move their residence outside Dallas County because the child’s other conservator has visitation and access rights, she says. “The unique twist is that it [the case] did not involve another biological parent,” she says.
Hernandez says placing the cases with volunteers at the annual conference is a joint effort of the DVAP and the pro bono committee of the DBA’s family law section. She says that the DVAP has been working with the committee for about 10 years to match volunteers with cases during the conference. “We usually come back without any cases,” Hernandez says.
— Jeanne Graham