Our Neighbor: Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program

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by CYNTHIA IZAGUIRRE

WFAA

Posted on July 6, 2010 at 3:17 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 6 at 3:17 PM

DALLAS - Those who need an attorney and can't afford don't have to look any further than Tuesday's "Our Neighbor."

The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program is dedicated to increasing and enhancing pro bono legal services to the needy in Dallas.
  
Attorney Ike Vandeneykel is part of the organization, which provides pro bono legal services to the poor, ensuring equal access to justice.

"In my career, those accomplishments that I remember the most, a lot of them are people that never paid me a dime," he said. "But, you know what, they needed me."

Mark Coats received free legal representation through the program.

"The economy everyone knows is down," Coats said. "I'm unemployed so money is tight."

Volunteer attorney Kevin Fuller agreed to help the Desert Storm veteran with his divorce.

"I virtually started off having nothing and I ended up having half and half and having appropriate custody with my children," Coats said.
  
Without help, his fees alone would have cost him $15,000. 

"He agreed to represent me pro bono," Coats said if Fuller. "I owe him so much. I'll never be able to repay what he did."

Vandeneykel believes in the Golden rule, and is especially proud of every lawyer who gives back to the community through the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program.

"I consider the license to practice law a privilege, privilege comes with obligation," he said.

Vandeneykel said he has learned a lot from the clients he serves pro bono, many of which he said he has seen never stop fighting for their families.

"The Dallas Bar is doing something for the less fortunate of Dallas and we're going to keep doing it," he said.

People can apply for free legal help by calling the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program or by attending their free neighborhood legal clinics across Dallas. 

E-mail:

cizzy@wfaa.com

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