Denver Bar Association
April 2010
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Citizen Lawyer — Barristers Benefit Ball

by Christine McManus


Coming May 1
to the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center!

Starring: Metro Volunteer Lawyers & The Clients
Tickets available now:

The Barristers Benefit Ball is the primary annual fundraiser for Metro Volunteer Lawyers. In 2009, MVL handled 2,179 case referrals, up from 2008’s case load of 2,058. Take a look below at several client and attorney stories, to get a feel for why funds raised at the ball are so important. Purchase raffle tickets for great prizes or event tickets online.

Case Example No. 1
Client adopts child


An orphan who was originally born in South America was mired in the adoption process. MVL Board Member and Citizen Lawyer Peggy Hoyt-Hoch took up the case pro bono. The U.S. adoptive mother was very patient, as her pro bono attorney worked across borders and language differences, and navigated local and national agencies. According to his proud adoptive mother, the family was ecstatic when he recently received a Green card. "How could I forget?" said the mother. "Everything has been great and we are all happy and well."


Case Example No. 2
Client keeps job

One day on the road last summer, single mom JoAnn’s used, low-mileage 2003 Kia Rio began smoking under the hood. The car came to a halt. "I knew it was bad, when the auto warranty company started giving me the run-around. I needed an attorney, and right away," said JoAnn, who lives in Lakewood. As soon as Citizen Lawyer Jim Hannon got the case, he read the contract, ironed out the details, and followed up with the reputable local repair shop and with the service contract company in California. Once the car was repaired, JoAnn said she could return to work. She also uses the car to help out with errands at her church.


Case Example No. 3
Client keeps home

One MVL client’s bankruptcy case turned out to have a couple other legal issues. "The garnishment from medical debt and other unpaid bills tipped things to a point where she couldn’t see a way out," said her Citizen Lawyer Jon Nicholls. Nicholls and his team documented the single mom’s income so the bankruptcy courts could see exactly how close to the edge she was. Her medical debt burden was reduced to a manageable level. Nicholls ironed out everything with her landlord too, keeping her family of four from homelessness. "MVL lined us up with a volunteer paralegal and another pro bono attorney, which allows us to take more pro bono cases," Nicholls said.


Case Example No. 4
Client’s family stabilizes

After Lisa’s husband’s tragically lost a parent to suicide, he started using drugs. He stopped paying the mortgage. Lisa had been a stay-at-home mother for 13 years, raising two children, ages 18 and 4. "I didn’t know what to do." Once Lisa contacted MVL, Citizen Lawyers Amy Goscha and John Eckelberry helped her figure everything out. A divorce was settled and they helped her keep the home. "I would have ended up losing more than I should have," said Lisa. "By my getting a lawyer and going through with the divorce, it actually helped my ex realize what he was doing and he got off drugs." Though the couple is divorced, they get together for family dinners on occasion.



A Word from MVL’s Board

MVL Board Member John Eckelberry serves MVL’s mentor committee. "MVL will always find a mentor in any area." said Eckelberry. "It’s never an excuse that a pro bono case might be out of your area of expertise. It’s our civic duty as licensed attorneys to provide access to justice for the indigent."


Thanks to the 2010 Sponsors of the Barristers Benefit Ball

Baker Hostetler; John T. Baker, PC/National Institute for Trial Advocacy; Bayer & Carey; Berenbaum Weinsheink; Bieging Shapiro & Burrus; Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck; Colorado Bar Association CLE (CLECI); Colorado Bar Association Family Law Section; Davis & Ceriani; Davis Graham & Stubbs; Donelson Ciancio & Goodwin; Faegre & Benson; Gibson Dunn & Crutcher; Gordon & Rees; Greenberg Traurig; Gutterman Griffiths; The Harris Law Firm; Hensley Kim & Holzer; Holland & Hart; Husch Blackwell Sanders; Ireland Stapleton Pryor & Pascoe; Jacobs Chase Frick Kleinkopf & Kelley; Kelly Garnsey Hubbell & Lass; Kennedy Childs & Fogg; Montgomery Kolodny Amatuzio & Dusbabek; Morrison & Foerster; Polsinelli Shughart; Pryor Johnson Carney Karr Nixon; Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons; Sherman & Howard; Silver & DeBoskey; Snell & Wilmer; Townsend and Townsend and Crew; University of Denver Sturm College of Law; Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell

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