Pro Bono

May 15, 2024

2023 Pro Bono and Civic Stars Dedicate Time and Effort to Incredible Causes

The Firm is pleased to announce that Andrew Stubbs and Shelli Oulliber, respectively, received the FormanWatkins Pro Bono Star and Civic Star awards! Andrew Stubbs was awarded the 2023 Pro Bono Star for hours dedicated to a Venezuelan immigration asylum matter that first originated in 2016. More than six years later, on October 24, 2023, asylum was granted to Simon Barinas, who was represented by Andrew and fellow FormanWatkins attorney Jake Banks. Simon came to the United States from Venezuela in 2008 as a college student. Several years later, the political and socioeconomic climate in Venezuela had reached a boiling point forcing his mother and immediate family to flee the country for their safety. It was no longer safe for Simon to return to Venezuela, and he filed for asylum, along with his mother. After 6 years, his case came up for a merits hearing. After hearing the proof and testimony of Simon and his mother, Judge Du Puy granted Simon asylum, thus opening the door for the path to citizenship for Simon. Shelli Oulliber was awarded the Civic Star for dedicating an astounding 423 civic hours throughout 2023. More impressive, these hours were dedicated to Bring a Noodle, a 501c-3 non-profit of which Shelli is Founder, CEO and President. Bring a Noodle works diligently with multiple local beach rescue groups, several National Weather Service offices as well as NOAA to help increase rip current awareness along the Gulf Coast. Last year, Bring a Noodle partnered with the Lt. Governor of Louisiana to […]

October 26, 2023

Stubbs and Banks Obtain Asylum Victory in Venezuelan Immigrant Case

Attorneys Jake Banks and Andrew Stubbs concluded a 6-year immigration court matter on October 24, 2023 with an asylum victory for Simon Barinas. Simon, pictured below with his mother, Juana, came to the United States from Venezuela in 2008 as a college student. Several years later, the political and socioeconomic climate in Venezuela had reached a boiling point forcing his mother and immediate family to flee the country for their safety. It was no longer safe for Simon to return to Venezuela, and he filed for asylum, along with his mother, in 2016. After 6 years, his case came up for a merits hearing. After hearing the proof and testimony of Simon and his mother, Judge Du Puy granted Simon asylum, thus opening the door for the path to citizenship for Simon.

April 20, 2023

FormanWatkins Pro Bono Initiative Hits 5-Year Mark

The FormanWatkins Pro Bono Initiative was launched in 2017 in an effort to solidify the firm’s commitment to public service and community involvement. Over the past five years, FWK attorneys, staff and summer associates have committed 8,864 hours to pro bono matters across the public interest spectrum including but not limited to: family and immigration law, appellate work, and assistance to veterans. The value of the pro bono hours is more than $2 million. Not only did the firm commit an enormous amount of time and energy to pro bono efforts, but FWK employees also donated more than 10,000 hours of their time to civic organizations in their local communities. The firm remains committed to public service and positively impacting our legal and local communities by helping those with limited means.   In 2022, the firm had 11 attorneys who completed 25+ pro bono hours, and these attorneys will be awarded 2022 Pro Bono Badges on their credentials. Catherine Pettis* Sampada Kapoor Sonya Dickson Mary Clift Abdalla Patrick Fields Thomas Toman, Jr. Jordan Nixon Spencer Ritchie Patrice Pujol Alison McMinn Chandler Agee For 2022, Catherine Pettis in our Jackson office was awarded the Pro Bono All-Star* for logging over 80 pro bono hours as she drafted an appeal to the Mississippi Court of Appeals. Jennifer Parks in our Jackson office was awarded the Civic Star for dedicating over 239 civic hours while serving in various capacities in her church and also serving as the state and local President of the […]

March 16, 2023

Firm Recognizes 2022 Pro Bono All-Star and Civic Star Award Recipients

The Firm is pleased to announce that Catherine Pettis and Jennifer Parks, respectively, received the 2022 FormanWatkins Pro Bono All-Star and Civic Star awards! Catherine Pettis, an Associate in our Jackson office, was awarded the Pro Bono All-Star for dedicating nearly 100 pro bono hours during 2022. The major of her pro bono work was representing a client from the Public Defender’s Office in a capital murder conviction appeal. Jennifer Parks, a legal assistant in our Jackson office, was awarded the Civic Star for dedicating more than 230 civic hours to local, state and national Legal Associations, Wills for First Responders and within her church’s women’s, youth and media ministries. We are grateful to have so many employees who devote so much time to their communities each year, and we are proud they are a part of the FormanWatkins family.  Read more on our Pro Bono and Civic Engagement initiatives here.

October 27, 2022

Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Projects Honors Mandie Robinson with Pro Bono Award

The annual Pro Bono Awards event celebrates attorneys across the state who have impacted the community through their profession. The event also helps to support MVLP’s mission to provide equal access to justice for Mississippians of limited means through high-quality pro bono legal assistance. The firm has many attorneys active in the MVLP, including Mandie Robinson, who was the recipient of  the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project’s 2022 Pro Bono Award at this year’s Pro Bono Awards Reception

September 12, 2022

FormanWatkins Co-Hosts Hinds County Family Law Clinic

FormanWatkins attorneys and summer associates from the Jackson office were among those who volunteered July 29,2022, at the Hinds County Family Law Clinic, a pro se legal clinic held at the Hinds County Chancery Courthouse. The clinic assisted individuals with a variety of legal matters, including irreconcilable differences divorces, uncontested guardianships, birth certificate corrections, and name changes. The clinic was hosted by the Fifth Chancery District (Hinds County Chancery Court), Jackson Public Schools, the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project, Mission First, the Capital Area Bar Association, and Forman Watkins & Krutz. Our participating team included Mary Clift Abdalla, Mimi Arthur, Jean Folsom, Ruth Huskey, Sampada Kapoor, and summer associates, Kelsi Baldwin (Mississippi College School of Law, May 2023), Merritt Baria (University of Mississippi School of Law, May 2024), Keri Herrington (Mississippi College School of Law, May 2024), Teresa Jones (University of Mississippi School of Law, May 2023) and Cailin Sims (Mississippi College School of Law, May 2024).

March 10, 2022

FormanWatkins Releases 2021 Pro Bono & Civic Engagement Report

FormanWatkins released its 2021 Pro Bono & Civic Engagement Report this week. The Firm’s pro bono efforts are led by our Pro Bono Committee, whose members include: Alison McMinn, Courtney Hunt, Erin Latuso, Julian Miller, Margaret McLaughlin, Mimi Arthur, Mitch McGuffey, Nicole Diesa, and Vernon McFarland. Thank you to all team members involved with these cases, it truly makes a difference!

March 8, 2022

FormanWatkins Awards 16 Attorneys with Pro Bono Recognition for Service in 2021

Last year, FormanWatkins’ Pro Bono Committee unveiled the Pro Bono Star, a badge that will be awarded annually to attorneys in the Firm who dedicate 25+ hours to pro bono work in a calendar year. We are proud to announce that 16 attorneys will be receiving the Pro Bono Star badge for their service in 2021!

October 18, 2021

Hunt, McGuffey, and Smith Discuss Asylum Cases on PLI’s “Pursuing Justice, The Pro Bono Files” Podcast

Courtney Hunt, Mitch McGuffey, Peyton Smith, and Amelia McGowan (Mississippi Center for Justice) recently discussed our work on asylum cases and what to consider if you are thinking about taking on a pro bono asylum case on PLI’s podcast, “Pursuing Justice: The Pro Bono Files.” Listen to the podcast here or on your favorite streaming service, search “Pursuing Justice: The Pro Bono Files.”