It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday: A Conversation with Mary Benton

Mary Benton of Alston & Bird* joins us this week the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, to discuss the firm’s proud pro bono history and exciting current projects. One of the firm’s founders – Phillip Alston – was a signatory to the resolution that created the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. Mary shared tips on how she boosts participation by recognizing and publicly acknowledging attorneys for their pro bono work. She and her team actively look for ways to thank people, including nominating them for awards presented by legal services organizations and other volunteer recognition programs. The firm itself has also been honored with numerous awards for outstanding pro bono achievement, including the Pro Bono Institute’s John H. Pickering Award in 2013.

Mary describes herself as “passionate about children and education,” and has been involved with the Truancy Invention   (TIP) for more than 20 years. TIP “provides resources and intervention services to children who are chronically absent from school and, as a result, either become involved with the local juvenile court or are referred for early intervention at the school level.”

We also discussed the firm’s involvement with the Appleseed Network and Georgia Appleseed. Mary admires that Appleseed “advocate[s] on a systemic level so we don’t keep coming up on the same problems over and over.” She also shares an inspiring story about the firm’s work on an Innocence Project case involving a client who was held in prison without an appeal for 19 years. Take 55 minutes to listen to Mary’s episode and get fired up about improving access to the legal system.

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* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member