In collaboration with Texas Bar Blog for National Pro Bono Week
Sarah Seltzer is a partner and owner of Seltzer and Dally, PLLC. This firm handles Family Law matters in Tarrant and surrounding counties.
What kind of pro bono do you do and how long have you been doing it?
I am currently on the committee for Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans in Tarrant County, and I have been asked to be the chairperson of that committee for 2019. We are able to provide essential legal services to those who have provided such an honorable service to our country and community – and it is crucial for our legal community to be able to give back to them in their time of need.
Why is pro bono important to you and what have you learned from doing pro bono?
This specific area of pro bono has opened my eyes to the needs of the heartbreakingly large homeless population of veterans in our area. These veterans typically have several legal needs – social security, VA benefits, housing issues, citations, child support arrears, etc. Through TLTV in Tarrant County, we have been able to take a team approach to addressing these needs, through several attorneys in the community working together, to ensure all issues are being addressed for the individual veteran.
What would you say to an attorney who is thinking about doing pro bono for the first time?
[Pro bono work] not only provides a sense of fulfillment to the attorneys working on the case, but it also provides networking between the attorneys in different areas of the law, and exposes each one to new information and resources they may not have known about before getting involved.
Share one of your favorite pro bono success stories.
I recently worked on a case for a veteran father, whose ex-wife decided to take his children and move across the country. He was very involved with his little girls, and this move would have meant that he went from seeing them 50% of the time, to almost never, based on where she wanted to move. Their decree allowed her to do this so we filed a modification to restrict her residence. We had to register the foreign order, file affidavits, and after several hearings, we had to draft an extensive brief to the court on the issue and distinguish our facts from established law. I had the pleasure of working with several law student interns through the Tarrant County Pro Bono program who researched, briefed, and attended proceedings. At the end of the case, the mother’s residence was restricted, she was not allowed to move, and our client was able to maintain his relationship with his daughters as a result. The case should have cost upwards of $20,000.00, but through TLTV, our firm was honored to handle the case pro bono.