At a time when many lawyers are failing to meet the call to action imposed by the BAR, those who go above and beyond to fulfill pro bono parameters are to be commended. Orlando attorney Carlos Leach was recently nominated for the News 6 Getting Results Award for his service to the community. He specializes in employment law and has served hundreds of clients over the years — 360 to be exact.
Those who awarded him dug into the records to find the number. Leach said, “I had no idea it was that many people. I’ve just been doing it for years.” He added, “Many times we speak to people over the phone and you can hear the despair in their voice. You can hear that they need help and so if we can provide advice to somebody or take the case and bring them some type of relief then it’s definitely worth it.”
That’s what many attorneys fail to realize. Sometimes quality pro bono work doesn’t occur in person or even in the courtroom. It’s all about providing potential clients with the right information for their particular cases — and often, that’s something that can be done over the phone.
Manager of Pro Bono Services for CLSMF Lena Hopkins said, “All of our clients are low income, they cannot afford an attorney and what we do makes a difference. It makes all of the difference in the world. The fact that [Leach] has longevity and the fact that he has helped over 360 clients with legal issues. He has helped them maintain income, he’s collected unpaid wages, he’s done the work in employment discrimination.”
Leach said, “I see it as an obligation. If it’s the type of case we take, and we can take the case, we’ll certainly do it.”
Although the BAR suggests that lawyers provide hours of pro bono work to clients each year, lawyers are under no legal obligation to actually perform that community service.