The Pro Bono Institute (PBI), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to improving and enriching pro bono service, will share Shook’s success with the Adopt-A-Neighborhood initiative at its annual conference March 23- 26. Shook, along with other law firms and Legal Aid of Western Missouri (Legal Aid), provide legal services to help turn around blighted neighborhoods. In the Ruskin Heights neighborhood of Kansas City, Shook, led by Of Counsel Jeanne Janchar, in one of its cases, helped the Neighborhood Association with a vacated property deluged with abandoned tires and debris.
“The hope is with enough exposure, the initiative will be a jumping off program for other communities nationwide,” Janchar stated.
Janchar, a business litigator at Shook for more than 15 years, understands the frustrations of neighbors who witness their property values decrease and neighborhood crime increase, and welcomes the opportunities to partner with Legal Aid. She worked as a paralegal at Legal Aid prior to attending law school.
“It’s very rewarding,” Janchar said. “We think so highly of Legal Aid. This is an opportunity for attorneys in private practice to help their communities, gain legal experience and do what we as litigators do best.”
Shook attorneys who participate in the Adopt-A-Neighborhood program include John Constance, Dan Cummings, Mark Ellison, Rachel Groves, Anne Hannah, Ashley Harrison, Cat Johns, Leigh Ann Massey, Erica McCabe, Dave Northrip, Darin Nugent, Kristen Page, Emily Pedersen, Linda Penrod, Charlie Rosebrough, Megan Roth, Dan Schwaller, Emily Sellers, Russell Shankland, Michelle Sousley, Joy Springfield, Dave Swaney, Angela Truesdale and Paralegal Berna Cosner.
Legal Aid of Western Missouri has a dedicated website for law firms interested in knowing more about this pro bono model of program.