"An old man was walking along the beach.In the distance he saw someone who seemed to be dancing along the waves. As he got closer, he saw a woman picking up starfish and tossing them back into the ocean. "What are you doing?" The old man asked. "The sun is coming out.If I don't throw them in they will die". "But woman, there are many miles and miles of beach with starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference". The woman bent down,picked up a starfish and threw it back past breaking waves". "It made a difference to that one!"
Like the woman in the story, the wonderful members of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society Philippines Chapter (JRCLS) desire to make a difference in the lives of those LDS members who stand injured and unprotected legally.
Since its formation, the members of the Philippines Chapter have extended legal aid services under the society’s legal aid program to a number of qualified recipients. To date, there are 40 individual cases terminated and on-going where the Law Society Members have handled or assisted the clients. Members of the Law Society who render pro-bono legal assistance best epitomize the virtues that the Law Society espouses. In a variety of ways, Law Society members are actively seeking to care for the poor, the needy, and the disadvantaged and have helped the plight of many who, without pro bono assistance, would stand injured and unprotected.
The success of the Legal Aid program is demonstrated in the Philippines Chapter First Case - The Annabel's Case
Handled by: Atty.Rodrigo Reyna, Atty.Robert Cauilan and Atty. Ernesto San Juan
Annabel is a single mother to an 11 year old daughter, an active member of a Ward in Las Pinas Stake. She is an Immigration Facilitator of American Dream Immigration Consultancy Inc. for 4 years.
On March 15, 2008 she was arrested while giving seminar on immigration in an entrapment planned by the Public Employment Service Office of Baler, Aurora and jailed without bail.
She was charged with Illegal Recruitment Large Scale/Syndicated Estafa before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office.The lawyer engaged by her company did not show up after the lawyer’s first meeting with her.
Her co-accused, the person who asked and arranged for the seminar, is a brother-in-law of the Vice-Governor who is a political enemy of the Governor.
The arrest was aired on local radio and touted a victory against illegal recruiters.
Baler, Aurora is too far, with roads almost not passable to small vehicle.
On 21 May 2008, the law society took her case upon representation by her bishop in her behalf. On July 1, 2008 or about one (1) month from the first visit, Annabel was free on bail. Subsequently, the complaints were dismissed.
Annabel has a good cause and she was faithful despite her sufferings, maintaining gospel standards while availing the pro-bono legal services. The priesthood leaders supported her in many ways. Resources for leg work, transportation, food, lodging, bail and other expenses were made available by kind-hearted members and friends.
Volunteer Lawyers dispense legal services with the “energies of their soul”.
Everyone involved put his trust in the Lord.
The Annabel Case tells us that there is no reason pro bono legal services on other worthy case referrals cannot be dispensed with.
The performance of the needed legal services is and must be a shared responsibility of the client and his family or relatives, the priesthood leaders and the handling lawyers.
With this year’s Second Anniversary celebrations slated on August 20-21, 2010, we adopted the theme, “Awake and Arise: Improving Lives Through Legal Aid Service“, with the hope of awakening and arousing every faculties, as described in Alma 32:27 and rolling up our sleeves with a new commitment, putting our trust in the Lord that we can do better than we have ever done before.