Texas A&M Law student initiates Kaufman County pro bono clinic

November 25, 2014

Richard Brand3L Richard Brand

Throughout their law school career, Texas A&M Law students are encouraged to exemplify the Aggie Core value of selfless service. 3L Richard Brand has taken that quality to the next level.

During the summer of 2014, Brand received a Public Interest Law Fellowship and served as a clerk for the 422nd District Court. Throughout his summer service, he began to see the need for a pro bono law clinic aimed to help low income individuals get legal help they may otherwise not be able to afford.

Starting in June, with Judge B. Michael Chitty’s approval and backing, Brand approached the Kaufman County Bar to discuss the clinic and ask for volunteer attorneys. Over the course of the summer, he researched existing clinics and, with the help of the State Bar, drafted by-laws, applications, income guidelines, petitions and final orders, and other documents needed to get the clinic up and running. With help from Kaufman County, he arranged for the South Campus Courtroom to be open for the first clinic. Several local attorneys, as well as current Texas A&M Law students, agreed to staff the first monthly clinic.

Brand detailed his summer’s work paying off. “The first clinic was held on August 8,” Brand explained. “When I arrived at the South Campus to set up, there were already people lined up to apply. That day nearly 100 people applied for legal assistance and we accepted 28 applicants.”

Brand said that the clinic not only helps individuals in Kaufman County but also has given law students the ability to gain​ practical legal experience. Alongside volunteer attorneys, students work on all aspects of the applications and petitions.

The group has now held four monthly clinics for the citizens of Kaufman County, accepting 87 applicants and filing 52 divorce petitions. The clinic currently takes only family law cases, such as divorces, modifications and SAPCRs (Suits Affecting the Parent Child Relationship). However, they are looking to expand the services they offer in the future.

Richard Brand Kaufman County pro bono clinic(L-R) Kaufman County pro bono clinic volunteer attorney Courtney Wortham, volunteer Carol McDaniel, Texas A&M Law 2L Chelsea Johnson and Texas A&M Law 3L Richard Brand