The Texas Young Lawyers Association and the State Bar of Texas Family Law Section want to teach Dallas-area young attorneys and law students how to do pro bono divorce cases.
“If they want to start their own shop, and they want to do family law, this is a way to learn to do it,” says TYLA president Kristy Blanchard (pictured). “They will be learning basically everything they need to know about doing a divorce.”
The free event is July 26 from 12 to 4 p.m. at the Belo Mansion. Attendees will earn 3.75 hours of continuing legal education.
Blanchard, an associate with KoonsFuller in Plano, explains that the event accomplishes two goals: Help a legal-aid organization handle its numerous indigent divorce cases, and give legal experience to young lawyers and law students.
Sherri Evans, chairwoman of the Family Law Section, says, “The only way we are going to be able to put a dent in the indigent need across the state is to train and educate and motivate other lawyers — outside the family law discipline — to take a family law case.”
The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program will bring at least 20 ready-to-go pro bono divorce cases to assign to the attendees, says DVAP managing attorney Michelle Alden.
“Hopefully, we would place all those and have more attorneys waiting for additional cases, and if so, we will get those as quickly as we can,” says Alden, who notes that DVAP provides volunteers with mentor attorneys, in-house forms and legal-malpractice coverage.
The event — which the section and TYLA plan to replicate across the state — is part of a new program, Family Law Cares, which will also include a website where pro bono lawyers can sign up for cases, says Evans. The section will also host the Family Law Cares Pro Bono 5K Fun Run and Walk in Dallas in November to raise awareness and money.
-- Angela Morris