“Today, the current deficiencies in our indigent defense system and the gaps in legal services for the poor and middle class constitute not just a problem, but a crisis. And this crisis appears as difficult and intransigent as any now before us.” That quote from Attorney General Eric Holder in October 2010 summarizes the urgency and need to ensure access to justice for all.

The United States Department of Justice launched an initiative to address what they call an “access to justice crisis in the criminal and civil justice system.” The Eighth Judicial District Court is working with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada on an initiative to help those in our community in need of legal help. Part of that initiative is The One Campaign, which encourages attorneys to do pro bono work for those in need. A pro bono attorney of the month is selected to receive recognition from the District Court Bench. Terry Johnson is the March winner.

Presiding Civil Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez read his introduction at the March civil judges meeting and conveyed that Terry is an enthusiastic Pro Bono Project volunteer since 2013. He willingly seeks new cases and also volunteers for Ask-a-Lawyer sessions. As an attorney for the State Gaming Control Board, he was instrumental in spearheading a project to help low income individuals appeal gaming work card denials, so that they could improve their chances of approval and their chances to get work. Since 2013, Terry handled an abuse and neglect case, two divorce cases and a Supreme Court appeal. According to his introduction, Terry’s most fulfilling case was helping seniors facing foreclosure.

The honor of Pro Bono Attorney of the Month doesn’t come with a huge prize, but it does come with a lot of respect from the judges and others in the legal community. It’s rewarding and it makes a difference in the lives of those who really need it. Congratulations to Terry Johnson for his pro bono work. Every attorney practicing in our jurisdiction is invited to take a case and reap the rewards of helping others. Contact the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada to get started.