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“I must agree Melvin.” Oscar smiled and looked at his notes. “The PMA Foundation was listed as one of the leaders in philanthropic support of civil legal aid nationwide. There are also thousands of pro-bono cases listed that site examples where your law firm has litigated for situations that we see every day at the center. You’ve helped men, women and children get out of abusive situations; kept families with financial setbacks from losing their homes; given victims of medical malpractices a fighting chance at survival.” Lifting his head from reading Oscar looked Melvin in the eye. “We’ve given support, but it has been more emotional than practical as we don’t currently have the means or the expertise. If we could at the very least get them legal advice it would be a godsend.”
“Oscar, we can do so much more with the right law partnerships. If someone commits a crime and they can’t afford legal representation they have a constitutional right to a free court-appointed lawyer but that is not the case in civil lawsuits. In either case whether criminal or civil if the plaintiff can’t afford a lawyer or can’t get legal help they have no recourse. Financing legal services made available with grants from the PMA Foundation gives the innocents their day in court too.”
“Do you do some of this pro-bono work yourself?” Oscar asked wanting to take advantage of Melvin’s first-hand knowledge. The more they talked, the more insights he garnered into the virtues of expanding the center’s offerings in this field.
“Of course. Every partner and associate in the firm is committed to a certain number of volunteer hours. It’s ingrained in the culture that Charlie and I fostered over 40 years ago. We also have paralegals, clerks, secretaries, and legal assistants doing their part. Our pro-bono cases get the same attention, representation and resources as our paying clients. In fact, my commitment is greater now that I have retired from the firm. My regular clients have been transferred to others within the organization, so I’m able to pick and choose my cases.” He gave several examples of cases that he’d tried himself over the years expounding on the good works of his foundation.
Oscar turned to Tina half-jokingly. “Tina where have you been hiding this guy?” But the real question was why had she not reached out to the PMA Foundation in her grant search or why she had not taken advantage of her familial relationship with Melvin to get insights into expanding the center’s offerings to include legal and financial services before.