Pro Bono Efforts

Atlanta Legal Aid Fellow

As part of our historic connection with Atlanta Legal Aid, SGR donates to the society the services of an associate who works full-time for the society for four months. 2007’s fellow, Caitlin Bannigan, assisted in representing a woman who was divorcing her husband who is currently serving time in prison for domestic violence. She also assisted tenants who were facing homelessness following the foreclosure of their landlord’s properties, and worked with clients to ensure they were receiving adequate child support.

Atlanta March of Dimes

At the 2008 March of Dimes WalkAmerica event, SGR ranked third among the top 12 Atlanta law firms in fundraising. SGR alone raised more than $13,600 to fund research and programs to prevent premature birth and other threats to babies’ health.

Dress for Success

Looking the part is essential for those seeking to achieve economic independence. Dress for Success is a successful nonprofit organization that provides not only clothing, but support and career development tools to help women succeed in work and in life. SGR has held a month-long suit drive in years past to collect attire and personal care items for deserving women.

Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless

Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless is an Atlanta-based non-profit organization with an international reach that provides food, assistance, and supplies to the homeless, the working poor, and others in need. Employees in SGR’s Atlanta office held a drive for food and other donations in support of this mission during the holiday season of 2007.

House of Hope

Founded by former SGR employee Rosie Hightower, House of Hope Christian-Centered Recovery, Inc. gives hope, faith and solutions to women who have suffered from addiction and mental illness. A recovering addict who found employment and friendship at SGR, Rosie runs (and largely funded) this welcoming therapeutic community. SGR lawyers recently created a nonprofit corporate structure that will keep House of Hope financially viable for the long term.

JALA Pro Bono Program

Smith, Gambrell & Russell attorney Lisa Rhein Carrasco was recognized for exceptional pro bono service in 2009 by the Supreme Court of Florida and the Young Lawyers Division of The Florida Bar, in conjunction with the Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Inc. (JALA). She and paralegal Virginia Mecabe provided over 100 hours of pro bono service to JALA.

The JALA pro bono program provides free legal services to thousands of low-income individuals. It continues to be a critical resource dedicated to closing the justice gap and ensuring that legal representation is available to all regardless of ability to pay. JALA attorneys and advocates handle cases involving community development, consumer, education, family law, elder law, employment and unemployment, housing, health, public benefits, mental health, and immigration issues.

Juvenile Justice Fund

On November 17 of 2007, SGR supported the Juvenile Justice Fund’s (JJF) 2007 National Adoption Celebration in Court. National Adoption Day is a national effort that facilitates awareness of the children who are currently in foster care. SGR’s financial involvement aided the JJF in completing 30 adoptions in Fulton County and provided each of the children with gift bags which contained personalized toys.

Summer Associate Outreach

Summer associates always anticipate the social component of their time with us. But in 2007, in addition to the traditional outings, they traveled to New Orleans to participate in a Habitat for Humanity build. As well, they conducted a survey for the Anti-Defamation League and helped beautify a charter school through Hands-on Atlanta’s Service Juris Day.

Other Efforts

Among numerous other pro bono and community service efforts, SGR reaches out to:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of North Florida
  • Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of Metropolitan Atlanta
  • Hands on Atlanta
  • Health Law Partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
  • Hospice Atlanta
  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Senior Citizens Services of Atlanta