Pro Bono

Pro bono representation is well ingrained in the history of Phelps Dunbar, and to this day our firm continues to strongly encourage our attorneys to undertake pro bono work to serve the legal needs of our community while enhancing the knowledge and skills of our attorneys.  The firm fully credits attorneys for the hours attributed to pro bono matters and embraces the highest quality of legal representation. Our pro bono work includes a vast case diversity in both civil and criminal matters.  Past matters have included divorce, custody and adoption matters, landlord/tenant disputes, estate (succession) work, child abuse and neglect, tort defense, and consumer problems.  In addition to participating in pro bono litigation procedures, Phelps Dunbar attorneys volunteer on a regular basis to assist with client interviews, intake, and referral for community pro bono efforts and programs, as well as in assisting nonprofits and community service organizations in their formation, mission fulfillment and other needs.

Pro bono work taken on by the firm comes from several different sources ensuring that our efforts reach different areas of the community.  Cases that meet government-set criteria, court appointed matters, pro bono volunteer organizations, or client referral are some of the methods in which we obtain our pro bono workload.  Participation in these efforts happens often at Phelps Dunbar and is, additionally, well received and respected in the firm.  We value the needs of our community and favor the enrichment of both young and seasoned litigators.  Our long-standing active involvement in pro bono work reflects and is consistent with the recent movement of state mandated pro bono requirements.

Several attorneys in our offices scattered across the Third Coast act as pro bono coordinators to manage and sustain our pro bono practice.  Coordinators work alongside partners, counsel and associates to assign, support and aid in the diverse matters we encounter.  Furthermore, our attorneys have emerged as leaders within pro bono organizations and associations.  Our lawyers are members, officers and board members of programs committed to improving community legal services. 

Some of the recent pro cases we have handled include:

  • Our firm successfully handled an international child abduction case resulting in the return of an eight-year old girl to her mother in Bermuda.  Several lawyers in our New Orleans office serve in the U.S. Department of State’s Attorney Network, a group of private counsel handling referral cases on a pro bono basis. (Phelps does not represent the U.S. government, nor does the government take a side in these pro bono cases.)
  • The firm participates in the Baton Rouge Bar Association’s Pro Bono Project.  We have handled a high number of pro bono cases involving Social Security claims for supplemental security income benefits and Social Security disability benefits.  We have helped adults and children with a wide variety of impairments navigate the administrative process, including administrative hearings and Appeals Council review.  
  • Through the Mississippi Bar Association’s military assistance committee, we assisted a disabled Vietnam veteran in Biloxi who was being evicted from his apartment.  We were successful in convincing the court to throw out the eviction which would have jeopardized his ability to qualify for subsidized housing under the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program.