NALP Directory of Legal Employers

Directory Year: 2021

Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP - Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP

Pro Bono/Public Interest

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Pro Bono Contact

Pro Bono Contact Name Jeff Whitfield
Pro Bono Contact Title Partner
Pro Bono Contact Phone (817) 878-3526
Pro Bono Contact Email [email protected]
Is the pro bono information indicated here firm-wide or specific to one office? Firm-wide
% Firm Billable Hours last year
Average Hours per Attorney last year 16.42

Pro Bono Participation

Percent of associates participating last year 37%
Percent of partners participating last year 31%
Percent of other lawyers participating last year 20%

Average hours

Average hours per associate last year 26.44
Average hours per partner last year 15.06
Average hours per other lawyer last year 6.2
What percentage of attorneys performed more than 20 hours? 23%
What was the number of actual pro bono hours contributed by the organization in the prior calendar year? 2497
Does the organization maintain a written pro bono policy that sets forth the organization's commitment to pro bono? Yes
How does the organization define what constitutes pro bono legal work?

The firm has adopted the State Bar of Texas Resolution and adheres to the Louisiana State Bar definition of legal services to the poor, which includes the following: • The direct provision of legal services to the poor without an expectation of compensation, or at a substantially reduced fee, whether civil or criminal; • Services, without a fee, or at a substantially reduced fee, related to simplifying the legal process for, or increasing the availability and quality of, legal services to poor persons; • Legal services without a fee, or at a substantially reduced fee, rendered to charitable, public interest organizations with respect to matters or projects designed predominantly to address the needs of poor persons; • Legislative, administrative or systems advocacy services without a fee, or at least a substantially reduced fee, provided on behalf of poor persons; • Unsolicited, involuntary appointed representation of indigents in criminal and civil matters; or, • All legal services to the poor included in Section 6 of the Preamble to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and to Rule 6.1 of Louisiana's Rules of Professional Conduct.

Organization pro bono hours goals

Does the organization set annual goals regarding the minimum number of pro bono hours to be contributed by the organization? Yes
If yes, what is that annual goal?

Attorney pro bono goals

Does the organization set individual attorney goals regarding the minimum number of pro bono hours to be contributed? Yes
If yes, what is that annual goal? 50 hours


Is an attorney's commitment to pro bono activity considered a favorable factor in advancement and compensation decisions? Yes
If yes, to what extent?

Pro bono support services

Are full-time support services (word processing, online research Lexis/Westlaw, out of pocket costs) available for pro bono representation? Yes
If so, are there any limitations?
Are associates provided written evaluations of their work on pro bono matters? Yes
Does the organization employ one or more of the following structures to manage its pro bono program and to provide training and guidance to participating attorneys? (Check all that apply): An attorney who coordinates pro bono projects as an ancillary duty to other work
Pro Bono Committee
How is pro bono work assigned/distributed?

Kelly Hart's Pro Bono committee directs and coordinates the pro bono legal activities of the firm. The committee reports directly to the managing partner and is chaired by the Pro Bono coordinator. The committee is responsible for generating opportunities for those attorneys who wish to work on pro bono matters, coordinating group pro bono activities, and offering individual opportunities for attorneys to represent indigent clients.

If an attorney is permitted to bring a pro bono case for possible consideration by the firm, who makes decisions about whether the firm will handle the matter? (check all that apply) Pro Bono Coordinator
Department Chair

Enabling pro bono or public interest work

Does the organization provide any of the following to enable its attorneys to participate in pro bono activities or work in a public interest setting? (Check all that apply): Other
If so please describe

Summer associate pro bono opportunities

Are pro bono opportunities available for summer associates? Yes
Additional comments (Please use this space to provide any additional information about your organization's pro bono program including any special recognition or awards the organization has received for its pro bono work.)

Kelly Hart & Hallman (Kelly Hart) has long been committed to pro bono ethics and providing pro bono legal services to individuals and organizations of limited financial means. This commitment is consistent with the ethical responsibility the legal profession places on lawyers to provide pro bono legal services. Furthermore, Kelly Hart recognizes that it is appropriate for persons licensed as officers of the court, regardless of their department or practice area, to use their training, experience, and skills to provide pro bono legal services for which compensation may not be available. This philosophy is consistent with the Texas Rules of Professional Conduct and the Louisiana State Bar. Kelly Hart also believes that pro bono work provides our attorneys with unique personal and professional development opportunities. Thus, the firm has adopted a policy to encourage firm attorneys to provide pro bono legal services and foster an environment that supports those engaged in the provision of pro bono legal services.

Kelly Hart's Pro Bono Committee coordinates on-going pro bono clinics supported by a team of Kelly Hart attorneys, paralegals, and other organizations to provide residents, and veterans, with pro bono legal assistance on wills, estate planning, and outside counsel. Partner organizations include The Morris Foundation Women & Children's Center, Gatehouse at Grapevine, Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans (TLTV), Tarrant County Volunteer Assistance Services (TVAS), and The Pro Bono Project.
Kelly Hart has been recognized locally and statewide for its continuous commitment and leadership in pro bono matters. Most recently, the Tarrant County Bar Foundation (TCBF) awarded Kelly Hart with the 2020 TVAS Law Firm Partner Award for its continuous commitment and support of the TVAS clinics. In 2020, TCBF selected Kelly Hart attorney Whitney Beckworth as the 2020 TVAS Pro Bono Attorney Volunteer Award recipient. TVAS selected firm attorney Heidi Angel as the 2018 TVAS Attorney Mentor Award Honoree. In 2017, TVAS chose Kelly Hart attorneys Nancy Ribaudo and Shauna Wright as TVAS Pro Bono Attorney Volunteer and TVAS Attorney Mentor, respectively. Kelly Hart received the TLTV Pro Bono Law Firm Partner of the Year Award in 2016 and the TVAS Pro Bono Law Firm Partner of the Year Award in 2015. The State Bar of Texas honored firm attorney Shauna Wright as its Pro Bono Coordinator of the Year Award Recipient in 2014. That same year, Kelly Hart received the Champion of Justice Law Firm Award by the Access to Justice Commission for being one of the top five firms contributing the most financial resources for the ATJ/Legal Aid campaign. With an unwavering commitment to our military veterans, Kelly Hart's Pro Bono Coordinator, Jeff Whitfield, has been featured in Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers Texas Rising Stars and recently was chosen as a Presbyterian Night Shelter's Fort Worth Community Champion. Additionally, Kelly Hart-Lousiana was selected as the 2014 Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year by The Pro Bono Project in New Orleans. Firm attorney Jane Jackson received the Louisiana State Bar Association 2016 Pro Bono Publico Award and the Louisiana State Bar Association Pro Bono Century Award, providing over 100 hours of volunteer pro bono services during the calendar year. 
Each year, The State Bar of Texas Pro Bono College recognizes attorneys who have performed 75 or more hours of eligible pro bono legal services to the poor during the preceding year.  In 2020, Nine Kely Hart attorneys were admitted into the State Bar of Texas Pro Bono College; 14 in 2019; 12 in 2018; and 10 for years 2009-2017. Pro Bono initiatives are part of the culture of the firm. So much so that Kelly Hart presents an annual Pro Bono Award to recognize a firm attorney who has made extraordinary contributions through volunteer legal services to the poor. 

What are some of the areas in which your organization has performed pro bono work in the past year?

Kelly Hart encourages attorneys to take individual pro bono matters as well as assist at legal clinics in our community. Examples of individual matters handled by our attorneys include: family law for battered women, wrongful termination suit on behalf of a teacher, appeals of child custody orders, Ad Litem appointments, representation of prisoners on civil matters, adoptions of foster children, and various matters for indigent veterans. Kelly Hart sponsors clinics for battered women, veterans, and family law clients. Kelly Hart has a tradition of staffing and financing two veteran's clinics annually for Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans - one in the spring for new associates, and one in June for summer clerks. Kelly Hart partners with The Gatehouse, a supportive living community for women leaving a crisis, by hosting clinics in the spring and the fall on wills, estates, child custody, and divorce. Additionally, Kelly Hart works with The Morris Foundation Women & Children’s Center to provide residents with pro bono legal assistance on wills and estate planning. Kelly Hart hosted and staffed two clinics for residents at Morris. Additionally, the firm sponsors two community-wide Texas Volunteer Assistance Center clinics annually by financing the costs and providing volunteer attorneys to take cases.

Fellowship sponsorship

Does your organization sponsor split public interest summer and/or post-graduate fellowships? No
Public Interest Fellowship Comments