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Legal Aid of Nebraska celebrates pro bono month, highlighting statewide volunteer attorneys

October 24, 2023

Media Contact:

Jenna Hynek, Communications Manager

jhynek@legalaidofnebraska.org, 402-880-9889

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

OMAHA, NE – Every year, Nebraska attorneys volunteer their time and expertise by providing free civil legal services to Legal Aid of Nebraska clients to address pressing legal issues affecting their lives. Legal Aid’s Private Attorney Involvement (PAI) program is the point of contact between Legal Aid and volunteer attorneys. The PAI program develops and offers opportunities for attorney involvement, recruits lawyers, and recognizes the incredible work done by volunteer attorneys, law students and other professionals on behalf of Legal Aid. However, the PAI program would not exist if not for the support of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), established in 1974. LSC funds approximately 33% of Legal Aid of Nebraska’s annual budget.

The LSC requirements for organizations to maintain a PAI program have evolved over the years. Now, the LSC Act requires all recipients of LSC funds, to devote at least 12.5% percent of its annual LSC basic field dollars to the involvement of private attorneys by providing specific eligible legal services to clients.

Historically, Legal Aid’s PAI program contracted with private attorneys to provide representation to clients with divorce, custody, and protection order matters where clients were seeking relief in situations involving domestic abuse. Legal Aid paid attorneys at a significantly reduced rate to represent clients in court. Family law cases were, and still are, the area of greatest legal need, but limited resources meant large numbers of eligible applicants would not receive assistance. However, attorneys willing to represent these clients for a reduced fee helped to leverage Legal Aid resources and bridge the justice gap for low-income Nebraskans. We need family law attorneys to provide pro bono assistance at domestic abuse protection order hearings and we need reduced-fee representation for divorces and custody matters for clients experiencing domestic abuse.

Volunteers can also provide brief service at one-day clinics. Within the last year, volunteers have assisted 143 clients to set aside or seal 389 criminal records that prevent clients from accessing stable housing, job opportunities, education, and public benefits. 90 LGBTQIA2S+ clients were assisted through the legal name change process to provide gender-affirming care to folks in need. Volunteer attorneys also assisted 64 homeowners to obtain transfer on death deeds, ensuring their homes remain in their family to build intergenerational wealth and avoid the costly probate process. Overall, volunteer attorneys and law students have dedicated 214 hours to pro bono clinics in the last year.

“We are incredibly thankful for the volunteers in our community. They generously offer their expertise and time to clients who would not be able to afford an attorney on their own,” said Emily Sands, Managing Attorney of Pro Bono Development and Engagement. “By donating a few hours of time, attorneys can make a life-changing impact on a client. We encourage interested attorneys participate in Legal Aid’s pro bono program.”

Volunteer attorneys do not need experience in the legal area that pro bono clinics offer. Legal Aid provides training materials and onsite support to assist volunteers and clients through the processes. If you are not an attorney or cannot engage in pro bono work, you can still make a difference by making a gift to Legal Aid of Nebraska. On average, a volunteer attorney provides $175 worth of services to clients in need.

Legal Aid’s PAI program is continuously growing its work with private attorneys across the state to help ensure that all Nebraskans, regardless of financial means, have meaningful access to quality civil legal aid.

Attorneys who are licensed in Nebraska and interested in volunteering should email probono@legalaidofnebraska.org. For more information, please visit the volunteer page on our website.

Thank you to the volunteer attorneys who have made equal justice happen for our clients within the last year:

Pro Bono

  • Adaline Baker
  • Alex Lierz
  • Alexandra Hubbard
  • Alyson Ryan
  • Alyssa Slama
  • Amanda Palmer
  • Amber Herrick
  • Amy Peters
  • Amy Van Horne
  • Andrew Vuorela
  • Angela Mangiameli
  • Ann Moshman
  • Catherine Swiniarski
  • Charles Brewster
  • Christopher Eickholt
  • Christopher Gamm
  • Chrisopher Hoyme
  • Courtney Ruwe
  • Dave Sommers
  • David Myers
  • Don Miller
  • Emilee Higgins
  • Erin Artz
  • Frederick Bartell
  • Gail Steen
  • Gregory Hauer
  • Howard Epstein
  • Isabella Hunt
  • James Crampton
  • James Truell
  • Jared Holzhauser
  • Jeanna Neumann Glasford
  • Jessica Kallstrom-Schreckengost
  • Jill Abrahamson
  • Joan Watke
  • Joel Carlson
  • John Lentz
  • John Moeller
  • Josepch Rupp
  • Julie Fowler
  • Kelle Westland
  • Kristin DeJarlais
  • Leigha Sopiak
  • Lindy Mahoney
  • Madeline Smith
  • Marcia Anderson
  • Mark Bertolini
  • Meghan Geraghty
  • Olivia Chick
  • Patrick Patino
  • Patrick Runge
  • Robert Bryant IV
  • Robert Larsen
  • Ryan Swaroff
  • Sam King
  • Sandra Stern
  • Sara Bockstadter
  • Sara Rips
  • Scott Thibodeau
  • Stefanie Flodman
  • Steffanie Kotik
  • Stacy Morris
  • Susan Reff
  • Thomas Hinshaw
  • Thomas Shomaker
  • William Lindsay Jr
  • Whitney Lindstedt
  • Yangping Shen

Reduced Fee

  • Adaline Baker
  • Angela Heimes
  • April Lucas
  • Banjamin Bramblett
  • Bill Erickson
  • Diane Merwin
  • Erin Artz
  • James Dake
  • John Moeller
  • Julie Greenamyre
  • Kelle Westland
  • Leo Eskey
  • Lindy Mahoney
  • Makenzi Gangwish
  • Mark Farrell
  • Matt Furrow
  • Matthew Munderloh
  • Michael Borders
  • Michael Ziskey
  • Nicholas Faletti
  • Patrick Runge
  • Ralph Peppard
  • Richard Register
  • Ryan McIntosh
  • Ryan Stover
  • Sandra Stern
  • Sara Rips
  • Stefanie Flodman
  • Stephanie Flynn
  • Tracy Hightower-Henne

Clinic

  • Alena Simon
  • Allee Barton
  • Andrew Wilkinson
  • Ann Mangiameli
  • Beth Ascher
  • Billy Boyd
  • Bryan Handlos
  • Caitlin Gustafson
  • Callie Kanthack
  • Daniel Zimmer
  • Diane Amdor
  • Erin Artz
  • Eva Neufeld
  • Helen Russell
  • Jamie Cooper
  • Janet Place
  • Jessica Parach
  • JoAnn Abt
  • Katelyn Cherney
  • Kevin Gaughan
  • Kirsten Zimmerman
  • Lisa Sarver
  • Marcia Anderson
  • Maureen O’Connor
  • Michael Haller
  • Michelle Douglas
  • Michelle Pernicek
  • Patricia Peterson
  • Quinn Eaton
  • Rodney Confer
  • Zander Savage

# # #

Legal Aid of Nebraska was established in 1963 and is the largest statewide non-profit civil legal aid provider in Nebraska, providing free high-quality services to low-income Nebraskans in all 93 counties. Legal Aid’s mission is, “to promote justice, dignity, hope and self-sufficiency through quality civil legal aid for those who have nowhere else to turn.”  Legal Aid has offices in Lincoln, Omaha, North Platte, Norfolk, Grand Island, Scottsbluff and Bancroft.

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