This week’s P.S. features holiday giving to families in need by Dallas and Houston lawyers at Stinson and Hogan Lovells, a special holiday event for fallen veterans, a Jackson Walker lawyer who has been appointed as chairman of the board to a freedom of speech/information nonprofit and the very first access to justice summit that took place in Houston, where two local reporters were recognized.
— This week, Stinson’s Dallas office donated more than 70 items to the Genesis Women’s Shelter that benefited 30 families that the firm “adopted” for this holiday season. Genesis is a nonprofit that provides a safe space for victims of domestic violence and their children. The donation of items — including dolls, baseballs, footballs, soccer balls, arts & crafts sets, headphones, stuffed animals and baby blankets — was part of the shelter’s holiday program, “Peace on Earth Begins at Home.” Paul Lackey, Stinson’s Dallas office managing partner, said the program benefits “kids who had to relocate to a battered women’s shelter during the holidays and didn’t know if Santa could even find them — we made sure he did.” Stinson’s involvement came at the suggestion of Dallas partner Erin Marino, who is a board member of Genesis. The firm’s contribution goal, intended as a multiweek effort, was met within an hour.
— Hogan Lovells’ Houston office participated in a similar gift drive this week for a family of nine the firm adopted through the nonprofit Kids’ Meals, which delivers free healthy meals to hungry preschool-aged children. Hogan Lovells adopted their family through the nonprofit’s Holiday Hope “Adopt a Family” program, which helps a family in need during the holidays. On Monday, lawyers and staff held a lunchtime wrapping party fueled by pizza, where they wrapped more than 100 presents — including clothing, toys and household items — for the family. On Wednesday, they delivered the gifts to the family, which lives near downtown Houston. “Hogan Lovells is committed to doing good in all the communities we serve,” Houston partner Cristina Rodriguez said. “There is no cause more rewarding than brightening the life of children, especially during the holidays.”
— Dallas Jackson Walker partner Robert “Bob” Latham was named chairman of the board of ARTICLE 19, an international, London-headquartered nonprofit organization that promotes freedom of expression and freedom of information through facilitating several campaigns as well as through legal and policy work. “My years of representing national and local media clients have taught me that freedom of expression is not something that we should ever take for granted,” Latham said.
— This Saturday, Baker Botts’ veteran affinity group, BB Vets, is sponsoring groups of volunteers from the firm to participate in Wreaths of America, a nonprofit that coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies on the graves of veterans buried in Arlington National Cemetery and other veteran cemeteries across America. Others at the firm who are unable to volunteer in-person are sponsoring wreaths. In Houston, legal secretary Patti Wall is spearheading the group of local firm volunteers who will lay wreaths at the Houston National Cemetery, where her son is buried. Stephen Wall served in the Navy and was stationed in San Diego when he died nine years ago during a free-diving accident in Mission Bay. He was 26.
— On Dec. 9, the Texas Access to Justice Foundation and the Houston Bar Association teamed up for the first time to hold a Summit on Access to Justice in Houston. The one-day summit featured an opening address by Texas Supreme Court Justice Brett Busby and panel discussions and Q&A sessions conducted by legal aid providers featuring issues like housing instability, immigration, domestic violence and family stability in Houston. At the event, Houston legal aid providers honored two Houston Chronicle reporters, Elizabeth Trovall and Jen Rice, with the Unsung Heroes Award for their work highlighting the unmet legal needs of underrepresented Houstonians. Trovall was recognized for her immigration coverage, while Rice was recognized for her coverage on evictions during the pandemic, which included attending hundreds of eviction hearings in Houston and speaking with tenants at risk of losing their homes.