JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Members of the legal community were honored Wednesday for providing free legal services to people who can't afford legal representation.
The Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project held a special reception as part of National Pro Bono Week at the Mississippi Bar Center in Jackson.
It recognizes attorneys, law firms, students and organizations committed to helping low income people free of charge.
This year, about 275 volunteer lawyers are actively working on cases referred through the project. In 2009, almost 11,500 people received assistance with legal matters.
"Courthouses must be open to all citizens and so hopefully we're taking cases that are more critical so it's very important. The system can't function without volunteer lawyers agreeing to do this," said Bill Waller, Mississippi Supreme Court Justice."
The event also served as a fundraiser for the organization. They hope to raise $50,000 dollars to put toward their efforts.
Law firms honored: Adams and Reese LLP; Brunini, Grantham, Grower and Hewes, PLLC; Butler, Snow, O'Mara, Stevens and Cannada, PLLC; Robinson, Biggs, Ingram, Solop and Farris, PLLC; and Wise Carter Child and Caraway, P.A.
Individual attorneys honored: Mississippi Bar Immediate Past President George Fair, Patricia Herlihy, Bradley C. Moody, Eleanor Faye Peterson, Ermea J. Russell, Leigh Vernon, and T. Murry Whalen, all of Jackson.
Young lawyers recognized: Debra Giles of Madison and Jackson attorneys Zandrea Yvette King, Dellwyn Smith and Damon Ramon Stevenson.
Law students honored: Damian Crooks and Cody Gibson, both of Mississippi College School of Law.
Organizations recognized: Capital Area Bar Association and Jackson Young Lawyers.
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