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Sutherland Springs – Call for pro bono attorneys

Monday, November 13, 2017
Author: Kristi Cochran

SABA’s Support for Sutherland Springs

Author: Beth Watkins, San Antonio Bar Association President

Eight days ago, tragedy struck Wilson County. This weekend, even while some victims remained in the hospital, the families and friends of those lost at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs began to bury their loved ones.

I write today to let you know what the San Antonio Bar Association is doing to help and to ask you to join us in these efforts.

According to the State Bar, there are 34 active attorneys in all of Wilson County and only one in Sutherland Springs. The need for legal services will likely exceed what that community, acting alone, can readily provide. SABA wants to make sure those affected by this unimaginable tragedy know they are not alone.

On Saturday, past SABA and State Bar of Texas President Allan DuBois and I attended an event in Sutherland Springs designed to provide the community information on available resources. We met with local leaders and determined that there is a need for SABA and the Community Justice Program’s assistance.

Historically, the CJP has served a volume of similarly situated clients en mass. Our recent Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Clinics taught us that the needs of those affected by unexpected tragedies are diverse, specialized, and they arise at different times. These individualized needs deserve individualized attention.

As a result, in the coming weeks, the CJP will perform intake services at the Disaster Resource Center in Sutherland Springs. Then, the CJP will match SABA volunteer attorneys with people who need their services. At this time, pro bono legal services are available in the areas of family, probate, guardianship, and real estate law.

CALL TO SERVICE

If you are willing to volunteer to represent someone affected by this senseless tragedy, please e-mail the following information to CJP@SABar.org:

  • Your name,
  • Your phone number,
  • Your e-mail address, and
  • What legal services (family law, probate, guardianship, real estate law) you can provide.

Sutherland Springs is a 45-minute drive from the Bexar County Courthouse. Volunteer attorneys should be prepared to travel to Floresville, the county seat of Wilson County, for any court proceedings. Wilson County Attorney Tom Caldwell has taken steps to waive county court filing fees and will serve as a local resource for volunteer attorneys.

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