Members provide year-round volunteer support throughout the St. Louis region
St. Louis (Oct. 22, 2019) – October is National Pro Bono Month to highlight the volunteer legal counsel attorneys provide. Member of the Association of Corporate Counsel St. Louis Chapter (ACC-STL), the pre-eminent professional development organization serving in-house counsel, provide pro bono legal assistance and volunteer for community services projects not just this month but throughout the year.
The 2019 ACC STL Pro Bono Committee Co-Chairpersons are Patricia Duft, Sr. Legal Director, Medtronic; and Paula Finlay, Assistant Vice President, Senior Legal Counsel, Labor & Employment, AT&T.
“Each October, we’re reminded of the impact as attorneys we make in the St. Louis community. As a chapter, our involvement is not for one month but throughout the year,” said Finlay.
The Pro Bono Committee identifies pro bono and community services opportunities where members can become involved in a variety of projects ranging from helping entrepreneurs with legal matters to volunteering at a local food pantry providing groceries to its clients.
“Our chapter members, for example, volunteer each month for the monthly Nonprofit Legal Clinics at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. Members meet with prospective Legal Service clients for brief one-on-one sessions to respond to questions they may have on legal issues they experience in the formation or management of a business or non-profit. This work is gratifying because we are involved with helping someone launch a new business,” said Duft.
Provided are highlights of where the ACC-STL members provided free legal counsel and volunteered for community services projects:
· Throughout the year, ACC-STL volunteers work with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri’s Community Economic Development Program (LSEM-CED), whichprovides free business legal assistance to entrepreneurs who are starting or expanding small businesses that provide a benefit to lower-income communities that Legal Services servs and to non-profit entities that promote community development to benefit lower-income individuals. On Oct. 17, the ACC-STL and LSEM-CED partnered to hold a workshop, “How to Start a Small Business,” at St Louis County Library.
- In March, ACC-STL volunteers in coordination with Legal Services and Thompson Coburn held a Business Legal Clinic for small business owners and entrepreneurs at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. Roundtable discussions were held with volunteer attorneys and followed by legal clinic sessions with clients who had questions on individual small business matters.
· In April, ACC-STL members collaborated with Legal Services, Husch Blackwell and the Family Care Health for National Healthcare Decisions Day where volunteers offered a free legal clinic to assist low-income individuals in Missouri with Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare and Healthcare Directive forms.
· In May, the ACC-STL partnered with the Veteran Justice Outreach Program, the VA St. Louis Healthcare System, and Missouri Attorney General’s Office Military Assistance for the Veterans Wills Clinic where 40 veterans and their spouses received free legal counsel on wills, living wills and power of attorney valued at $35,000 or less.
· In late October, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL) held, “Celebrate Pro Bono 2019,” a workshop that offered training to local attorneys to support the ACC-STL clinic at Legal Services and to enable members to take on other representations.
“Our committee identifies pro bono opportunities and community service opportunities throughout the St. Louis region because we want to offer our members a well-rounded volunteer experience. From our recent survey results, we learned that a variety of volunteer opportunities is a key draw for members to become active with the Chapter,” said Duft.
Ann Marie Mayuga, AMM Communications
About the ACC STL:
The Association for Corporate Counsel of St. Louis (ACC STL), the pre-eminent professional development organization serving in-house counsel, was founded in 1987. The St. Louis chapter has more than 550 members who represent more than 100 organizations. During its 30-year-history, the ACC STL has grown to become one of the leading chapters in the country having been selected as a 2017 Gold Level Award recipient and winning the 2018 Best Membership / Recruitment Award. To learn more, please visit, https://www.acc.com/chapters/stlouis/.