115th District Judge Lauren Parish presented a plaque to Martin as the organization’s “Volunteer Attorney of the Year,” as well as certificates to him and Newsom. The organization also issued a certificate of appreciation for pro bono work to Gilmer lawyer Todd Tefteller, who was not present.
In order to surprise him with the plaque/certificate, Judge Parish said, Martin had been told to appear in court as the legal representative of a child in what proved to be a fictitious case. The presentation to Newsom was also a surprise to him.
The judge said the awards were for attorneys who do “yeoman’s work” for those who can’t afford to hire a lawyer. She said some such attorneys work through the Lone Star group, which has an office in Longview, and she praised that organization, which she said works with the State Bar of Texas.
“We’re grateful for all of you for what you do,” she told Martin, Newsom and Sheila Timberlake, a paralegal who manages the pro bono program in Lone Star’s Longview office. It serves seven counties, including Upshur.
Martin was honored for devoting 321 pro bono hours to 39 cases since 1997. A graduate of Gilmer High School who is the longtime City Attorney, he has practiced law here since 1984 and is also City Attorney for Jefferson.
Ms. Timberlake told The Mirror that Lone Star Legal Aid is the fourth largest service provider of legal aid in the nation, serving 72 Texas counties and four in Arkansas. It has 14 offices in Texas, she said, including the one at 140 E. Tyler, Suite 150 in Longview.
Lone Star, financed by private groups with no governmental funding, handles only civil work (not criminal cases) such as family law, bankruptcy, landlord/tenant disputes, probate and Social Security, she said. Those who want to use its services are screened for income and asset eligibility.
Those interested in applying for its services, or attorneys who want to volunteer for pro bono work, may call the Longview office at 903-758-9123.