HUNTINGTON – Two attorneys at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough say the firm’s recent recognition for 100 percent participation in Legal Aid of West Virginia’s annual Just One campaign is an extension of the firm’s overall commitment to pro bono work.
“Pro bono is a very big part of Nelson Mullins’ history,” Tom Hancock, who is of counsel for the firm, told The West Virginia Record. “To say they encourage it really doesn’t do it justice. They expect it.”
Tom Hancock | Nelson Mullins
Randy L. Saunders, partner and chair of tax lien resolution and litigation, echoed those sentiments.
“It’s important that we be active in the community,” Saunders told The West Virginia Record. “It’s embedded in the firm’s culture.”
Saunders said community and pro bono work allows attorneys to “find the things they’re passionate about” and make contributions in connection with those passions.
Hancock said the Just One program was born out of Legal Aid of West Virginia’s quest to get the legal community in the state involved in its campaign for donations. One of the fundraising avenues adopted by the organization was to attempt to get every lawyer in the state to donate one hour of their time.
Hancock said he was especially happy that the younger attorneys at the firm, those who may still be paying off college loans and amassing other expenses like mortgages, all took the chance to participate in the program.
The fact that the firm’s attorneys are “all really competitive” didn’t hurt Nelson Mullins’ chances at gaining 100 percent participation either, Hancock said.
“We wanted to be one of the firms that got 100 percent participation,” he said. “I’m really proud of that.”
In addition to participation in the Just One program, Hancock and Saunders said Nelson Mullins' other pro bono work has included offering to do Federal Emergency Management Association appeals for West Virginia residents who were affected by flooding in the state and participation in the American Bar Association’s Wills for Heroes program.
In fact, Saunders said he recently donated his time to that program by writing wills for members of the Huntington Fire Department.
The firm also provides legal help to low-income individuals, including with a variety of civil rights issues, Hancock said.