Inside Track: Pro Bono Initiative designates grants for pro bono projects, funds still available:

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    Pro Bono Initiative designates grants for pro bono projects, funds still available

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    March 4, 2009 – The Legal Assistance Committee recently awarded Pro Bono Initiative grants totaling $14,600 to four organizations to assist with the creation of new pro bono projects. Applications are still being accepted for grants of up to $5,000 to develop or expand pro bono legal assistance projects in Wisconsin.

Matter Attorneys Susan Conwell, Executive Director (left) and Anita Cruise of Milwaukee’s Kids Matter, Inc. help lead the Second Acts project in Milwaukee.
    Kids Matter Inc., in Milwaukee, received a grant of $5,000 to assist with the startup of their Second Acts pro bono project. Kids Matter is an organization of more than 100 volunteers that has advocated for more than 150 abused and neglected children in Milwaukee County Children’s Court.  Volunteers work with child protective services, the legal system and community resources to serve as the child’s advocate in court. The request was supported by the Milwaukee Bar Association and the Hon. Mary Triggiano, presiding judge in Milwaukee Children’s Court.
    Danner ErnstHon. Sally-Anne Danner, Family Court Commissioner (Left) and Kylee Ernst, Program Coordinator with Family Court Services helped start a legal clinic in Fond du Lac.

    The Fond du Lac Co Family Court Services Pro Se Legal Clinic received a grant of $5,000 to start a new legal clinic for pro se litigants. The clinic will provide self-represented litigants with access to user-friendly forms and instructions as well as limited legal advice from volunteer attorneys. Their request was supported by the Oshkosh office of Legal Action of Wisconsin, Fond du Lac County Child Support Agency and the Fond du Lac County Register in Probate.

    Keck Commissioner David Keck helped develop the proposal for a new legal clinic in Winnebago County.

    The Winnebago County Legal Assistance Center received a grant of $5,000 to begin its project to provide information and legal assistance to low-income, unrepresented people at the main public libraries in Menasha and Oshkosh. The proposal was submitted by Commissioner David Keck, the Winnebago County Bar Association, and the Winnefox Library System. The clinic was developed with support from Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Inc., Legal Action of Wisconsin’s Oshkosh office, the Winnebago County Clerk of Courts, the Winnebago Conflict Resolution Center, Inc., the Winnebago County Child Support Agency, and the Winnebago County Family Court Commissioner’s office.

    Bomrad Commissioner Dolores A. Bomrad helped advance the creation of the new Washington County legal clinic.

    The Washington County Family Law Assistance Program was awarded a grant of $2,600 to help advance the creation of its new legal clinic for unrepresented family law litigants. The proposal was submitted by the Washington County Bar Association with support from members of the local judiciary, and the Washington County Clerk of Courts.

    The State Bar’s Pro Bono Initiative is a statewide project of the Legal Assistance Committee to support, recognize, coordinate, and increase lawyers’ volunteer legal efforts. In collaboration with the judiciary, legal services providers, local bar associations, and community organizations, the initiative works to eliminate barriers to effective public access to the civil justice system. Since 2006, the State Bar has awarded $88,950 in grants for the development and support of pro bono initiatives in Wisconsin.

    The Pro Bono Initiative also helps Wisconsin lawyers meet the challenge of addressing the unmet legal needs of low-income residents in a variety of other ways, including free LexisNexis® research, expense reimbursements, and free malpractice insurance for pro bono.

    Download a grant application or for more information, contact org jbrown wisbar Jeff Brown at (800) 444-9404, ext. 6177.