Shelby Ricketts

Volunteer of the Month – November 2017

Firm: Concote Corporation

Shelby Ricketts is the CEO and Corporate Counsel of Concote Corporation.

1. How did you first get involved in pro bono?

I basically wandered into a DVAP promotional seminar at the Belo Mansion for some free MCLE credit.  I found out it was only free if I accepted two simple cases or a complex case.  By the time I left, someone had swooped up the two simple cases and I ended up with a complex divorce case.  I was hooked.

2. What types of cases have you accepted? 

Lease disputes, bankruptcies, divorces, expunctions and some probate.

3. Which clinics have you assisted with? 

I assisted with a family clinic.

4. Describe your most compelling pro bono case.

I worked a guardianship of a teenage girl that was a chronic runaway.  She had been abused by her father and uncle at an early age and in foster care all her life.  When they showed me into the room to interview her, she wanted me to assure her that she would be able to keep all of her possessions, which fit into a tote that was about the size of a tackle box.

5. Why do you do pro bono? 

The clients are truly appreciative of your efforts and, unlike paying clients, occasionally even say “thank you.”

6. What impact has pro bono service had on your career? 

It has retrained me to think on my feet.  When you accept cases outside of your “comfort zone,” you have to remember how to talk to a judge or client, even when you are not really sure what the answer is.

7. What is the most unexpected benefit you have received from doing pro bono?

I have been reminded that lawyers have special gifts in the way the they can solve a problem.  Sometimes it is explaining the law and sometimes it is helping to lift someone up whose feels that their problem seems insurmountable.  Many DVAP clients just need reassurance that their problem is temporary and that they will get past it.


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