Look inside for this month's Pro Bono Spotlight, a list of "Celebrate Pro Bono" Events & an update on the 2013 Fundraising Campaign!

Partner, Bradley Arant Boult & Cummings LLP & Big 13 Firm Contact for MVLP

Q: Why do members of your firm volunteer with MVLP?
A: Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, both as a firm and through our individual lawyers, has a strong commitment to the communities where our lawyers live and practice.  The firm has a formal Pro Bono program, which recognizes this involvement in our communities through pro bono legal service.   We believe all lawyers have an ethical obligation to help address the unmet legal needs of indigent individuals and charitable institutions in our communities.  Accordingly, the firm expects our lawyers to devote a significant amount of time to Pro Bono work, and strives to commit 3% of the firm’s total billable time to pro bono matters. MVLP’s cases give us a chance to make a direct and immediate impact on the life of someone who needs a service that we, as lawyers, can exclusively provide.  
Q: What are your responsibilities as MVLP's Big 13 pro bono contact at Bradley Arant?
A: As a member of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee, I serve as a contact person and coordinator much of the Jackson office’s pro bono work for MVLP and other legal services organizations.  I circulate lists of available cases from MVLP periodically, and assign cases to the lawyers who volunteer.  I also serve as coordinator for Bradley Arant’s contributions to the MVLP manual of research and forms provided to volunteer attorneys, updating Bradley Arant’s chapter on fault-based divorces periodically. 
Q: How has MVLP made an impact on your life personally, professionally, or otherwise?
A: Since I began practicing 10 years ago, I have tried to keep at least one active MVLP case on my plate at all times.  The obvious payoff of volunteering to take a pro bono case  through MVLP is the satisfaction you get from helping someone in need.  However, in my experience, the practical returns of doing pro bono work have been an unexpected added benefit.  My MVLP cases have helped me learn how to manage a case on my own, as they were some of the first cases I handled solo when I began practicing.  While it was daunting at first to handle unfamiliar chancery cases, MVLP’s support through training sessions and form manuals helped me to develop confidence in these areas and gain a wider range of legal experience. I have also gained valuable courtroom experience and met many judges and other lawyers by handling MVLP cases. 


For the past four years, the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Services has created a national spotlight on pro bono during the month of October.  The National Pro Bono Celebration focuses the nation's attention on the increased need for pro bono services during these challenging economic times and celebrates the outstanding work of lawyers who volunteer their services throughout the year.  MVLP joins the nation in celebrating pro bono with a week full of activities during National Pro Bono Week, October 20-26, and throughout the month of October.  Please mark your calendars now for the following events:

  • October 21, 22 & 23:  MVLP will join the Capital Bar Association and the Access to Justice Commission to bring “Lawyers in the Library” events to the Eudora Welty Library in Jackson, from 3:00-7:00 p.m. on October 21-23.  The topics covered will including "Family Law", "Criminal Law" and "Social Security and Disability Law", on October 21, 22 and 23, respectively.  Attorneys are needed to volunteer to provide legal advice and counsel to library patrons who sign up for twenty minute sessions.  Contact Tiffany Graves at to learn more.  
  • October 22: The Chili's restaurants in Jackson and Madison will host a "Give Back Night" for MVLP from 4:00-10:00 p.m.  10% of all meal and drink proceeds will go directly to MVLP.  Come join us for dinner at Chili's on October 22!  See below for more details. 
  • October 24: MVLP will host its Annual Pro Bono Awards Reception at the Mississippi Bar Center in Jackson, from 5:00-6:30 p.m. MVLP will honor attorneys (Mimi Arthur, Zachary Busey, Steve Headrick and Michael Wilson) , law firms (Merkel & Cocke, P.A.) and other organizations (Matthews, Cutrer & Lindsay, P.A.) who have provided outstanding support to the organization over the past year.   MVLP will also announce early donors to the 2013 "Advancing Justice, Restoring Justice" Fundraising Campaign.  For a list of those who have already given to the campaign, see below.  The Awards Reception is free and open to all members of the Bar. 
  • October 25: MVLP has moved to its new location on 1635 Lelia Drive, Suite 101 in Jackson!  We want you to help us celebrate our move by attending an Open House on Friday, October 25.  Come join us for refreshments and tours of the new office from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.  (As a reminder, MVLP will be closed during the week of September 30 because of the office relocation.)
  • October 29: MVLP, the DeSoto County Chancery Court, the DeSoto County Bar Association and the University of Mississippi School of Law's Pro Bono Initiative will host another Family Law CLE & Pro Se Legal Clinic at the DeSoto County Chancery Court in Hernando from 4:00-8:00 p.m. for individuals with divorce, guardianship, custody and name change matters.  Attorneys who attend the CLE and volunteer at the clinic can earn up to four hours of CLE credit.  Contact Tiffany Graves at to learn more.
  • October 30: Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) will interview MVLP's Executive Director and General Counsel, Tiffany Graves, about the work of MVLP. TBN is the world’s largest religious network and America’s most watched faith channel.  TBN-Jackson Channel 34 reaches most residents of Central and South Mississippi.  MVLP will announce the air date of the interview when it becomes available. 


On Tuesday, October 22, from 4:00-10:00 p.m., the Chili's Restaurants in Jackson and Madison will host a "Give Back Night" for MVLP!  Chili’s proudly supports the communities in which they operate. The "Give Back Night" program is a way for Chili's to be involved in the community and to support not-for-profit organizations.  A Chili’s "Give Back Night" is a fundraiser where Chili’s “gives back” to not-for-profit organizations. The fundraising event takes place at a local Chili’s restaurant on a specified evening. The benefiting organization promotes the Give Back Night to community members.  The organization then receives 10% of the sales (excluding tax and gratuity) from the organization’s guests when the event  flyer is presented.  To download the "Give Back Night" voucher that you will need to present on October 22nd, click here.  The Chili's location in Madison is on 1893 Main Street.  The Jackson Chili's restaurant is on 475 Briarwood Drive.  Representatives from MVLP will be at both locations with flyers throughout the evening.  Mark your calendars now for this evening of food, fun and fundraising for MVLP! 


MVLP's 2013 "Advancing Justice, Restoring Hope" Fundraising Campaign kicked off in early September and many of you have already shown your support with generous gifts and pledges.  Support for this year's campaign is critical so that we can recruit more volunteer attorneys, ensure that small fees do not impede access to the courts, and provide more "on the ground" outreach programs.  The fundraising levels are as follows:  Pioneers ($5000+), Trailblazers ($2500-$4999), Pathfinders ($1000-$2499), Groundbreakers ($500-$999); Guides ($250-$499) and Patrons ($50-$249).  You can give online, mail your donation to MVLP, Post Office Box 1503, Jackson, MS 39215 or call MVLP at 601-960-9577 to arrange for a pick up your donation by an MVLP staff, Board or Advisory Board member.  We are counting on your support to help us raise $75,000! 

THANK YOU to the following individuals, law firms and organizations who have already given to the campaign:
PATHFINDERS - $1000-$2499

Attorney at Law Magazine - Mississippi Edition

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLC
Chinn & Associates, P.C.
Christy D. Jones
John M. McCullouch
Jody E. Owens, II
Stephen W. Rosenblatt
Nina Stubblefield Tollison
The Mississippi Bar’s Section on Litigation

Corlew Munford & Smith PLLC
S. Craig Panter
GUIDES - $250-$499

Alexander & Watson, P.A.
Donald Clark, Jr.
Kenneth Farmer
Tiffany M. Graves
Alexander C. Martin
Miller & Miller, Attorneys at Law
Law Office of Richard C. Roberts III
Timothy Threadgill
Waide & Associates, P.A.
PATRONS - $50-$249

M.A. Bass
Michael S. Carr
David L. Cobb
Meta S. Copeland
Nakimuli O. Davis
Steven T. Gray
Alicia and Seth Hall
Lamar & Hannaford, P.A.
Montague, Pittman & Varnado, P.A.
Tianna H. Raby
Honorable Veldore Young


The Mississippi Bar's Litigation Section donated $1500 to MVLP's 2013 Fundraising Campaign.  Rebecca Wiggs, Vice Chair of the Section, presented the check to Donna Brown Jacobs, MVLP's Board Chair, and Tiffany Graves, MVLP's Executive Director/General Counsel, on September 23.  The Litigation Section joins the Business Law, Government Law and Workers' Compensation Sections in donating to MVLP this year.  In all, MVLP has received $6500 from the Bar Sections!  We are so grateful for the support and encourage other Sections and local Bar associations to consider contributions to MVLP.   


The following decisions were recently handed down by the Mississippi Court of Appeals or the Mississippi Supreme Court.  In an effort to keep our volunteers current on Mississippi family law, we are sharing cases with you and hope that you will review at your convenience.  The topics of the cases and links to the full opinions are provided below.

 HOUSTON v. HOUSTON, NO. 2012-CA-00617-COA:  Divorce -- Adultery - Alimony - Child support - Adjusted gross income - Section 43-19-101(3)(a) - College expenses
PEARSON v. PEARSON, NO. 2009-CA-00885-COA: Divorce: Irreconcilable differences - Value of pension
KEITH v. KEITH, NO. 2012-CA-00186-COA:  Divorce: Irreconcilable differences - Renegotiate terms of settlement - Property settlement agreement - Section 93-5-2(2)
MARIN v. STEWART, NO. 2012-CA-00834-COA:  Child custody - Child support - Section 43-19-101 - Section 43-19-103(g) - Deviation of guidelines - Undisclosed Social Security benefits – Living Expenses
GARDNER v. GARDNER, NO. 2012-CA-00604-COA:  Divorce: Desertion - Section 93-5-1 - Sufficiency of evidence - Admission of evidence - M.R.E. 1006 - Equitable distribution - Valuation of tools - Attorney's fees
ARRINGTON v. THRASH, NO. 2012-CA-00051-COA:  Grandparent visitation - Amount of visitation granted - Child's surname -Section 41-57-23
NEVILLE v. BLITZ, NO. 2011-CA-01613-SCT:  Modification of divorce judgment - 38 U.S.C. § 3319(f)(3) – Federal preemption - Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits - College expenses – Monthly housing stipend

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