Firm donates legal services to Illinois families and veterans
Edwardsville, Ill., Oct. 23, 2012 – The Madison County Bar Association and the Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee has awarded the Firm the Joseph R. Bartylak Pro Bono Service Award for its commitment to pro bono service in the Madison County community over the past year. The award was presented during the annual Pro Bono luncheon today at the LeClaire Room in Edwardsville.
Amy Garrett, a shareholder at Simmons and chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Program, expressed her thanks on behalf of the firm for receiving the distinction.
“We are grateful to the Madison County Bar Association and the Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee for this honor,” Garrett said. “The Firm is committed to supporting our local community, whether through the charitable work of our employee foundation, or by providing free legal help through our pro bono efforts.”
Having worked on more than 25 bro bono cases during the past year, the Firm supported several pro bono programs in Madison County and the St. Louis Metro area. Through its internal pro bono program, firm attorneys are appointed by Madison County judges to serve in Guardian Ad Litem roles by representing minors and disabled adults in custody and probate matters.
Garrett also serves on the Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee. Through her leadership, several firm attorneys have supported the initiatives of the pro bono committee including working multiple hours a week in the Legal Advice Conference Center where lawyers meet with indigent clients to provide free legal advice.
Attorney Jo Anna Pollock also partnered with the committee to offer a mentoring program to Madison County high school students, which allowed them to follow an attorney for several weeks. Pollock also donates her legal expertise to the St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts by teaching an annual seminar on copyrights and patents to local businesses owners at the Jacoby Arts Center in addition to providing legal advice on a pro bono basis to St. Louis area artists, authors and musicians.
Shareholder and Marine Corps Veteran Mike Stewart serves at the Assistant State’s Attorney assigned to Madison County Veterans Treatment Court. Veteran Court helps troubled veterans resolve their legal trouble through partnering with other community organizations that provide counseling and job support services. Stewart was the program’s first prosecutor when it was created in 2009 and recently reassumed the leadership position on a pro bono basis.
The Firm received the honor as part of the Madison County Legal community’s celebration of National Pro Bono Week, Oct. 21-27.
“During Pro Bono Week we will honor and thank the more than 190 Madison County lawyers who provide hundreds of hours of free legal help each year to those unable to afford an attorney,” said Angela Donohoo, Madison County Bar Association President.
To further its mission, the Pro Bono Committee is sponsoring two days of free legal advice for veterans on Thursday, Nov. 8 and Tuesday, Nov. 13 at the Madison County Legal Advice Conference Center.
For more information about Pro Bono Services in Madison County, click here.