Volunteer of the Month – January 2020
Christine Leatherberry is the Director of Alumni Relations at SMU Dedman School of Law.
1. Describe your most compelling pro bono case.
Last year, I helped two grandparents adopt their grandson. My clients’ daughter died at just 30 years of age from medical complications less than a couple weeks after she gave birth. After so much tragedy and heartache losing their daughter, they were able to adopt their grandson to raise him as their own son. Without the adoption and without a court order, many of their rights were not established, such as the legal right to make medical decisions, educational decisions, therapeutic decisions, and even Julian’s inheritance rights were not legalized.
2. Why do you do pro bono?
I do pro bono for three reasons:
3. What is the most unexpected benefit you have received from doing pro bono?
There aren’t a lot of opportunities in family law litigation or as a trial attorney to smile in the courtroom or to practice what I’ve deemed “happy law.” We deal with serious, emotional, and difficult issues. A successful adoption is a wonderful, unforgettable day in the lives of a child and their new parents. Providing pro bono legal services has given me the unexpected benefit of being a small part of this special day in a family’s life, practice “happy law,” and help those in need who would not have access to such legal services.