More than 8,000 Greater New Orleans residents have benefited.
New Orleans – Entergy Corporation received national recognition for its partnership in an initiative that provides free legal assistance for thousands of low-income individuals and families.
The Corporate Pro Bono Organization presented the 2016 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award to Entergy, the Orleans Parish Civil District Court and the Louisiana Civil Justice Center for their roles in supporting the Self Help Resource Center. Since 2013, the center has helped more than 8,000 unrepresented low-income and vulnerable domestic court litigants in the Greater New Orleans area.
|From left: Marcus Brown, executive vice president and general counsel, Entergy Corporation; Jonathan M. Rhodes, executive director, Louisiana Civil Justice Center; and the Honorable Tiffany Gautier Chase, Orleans Parish Civil District Court; were recently honored for a partnership that provides legal services for unrepresented low-income and vulnerable domestic court litigants in the Greater New Orleans area. Also pictured, Eve Runyon, president and CEO, Pro Bono Institute.|
Marcus Brown, executive vice president and general counsel, accepted the award for Entergy during the Pro Bono Institute's annual dinner in New York City.
"Entergy serves one of the most impoverished regions of our country, and the level of need we observe every day makes our law department passionate about serving others," Brown said. "We are uniquely positioned to use our skills to help others, particularly poor and disadvantaged groups. Through the Self Help Resource Center and other pro bono efforts, we are able to fulfill that responsibility."
A signatory to the CPBO Challenge® initiative, Entergy's legal department began expanding its pro bono efforts in 2012 to assist more vulnerable individuals in the communities Entergy serves. The following year, Entergy partnered with the Orleans Parish Civil District Court to more fully implement and support the Self Help Resource Center. The Louisiana Civil Justice Center joined the partnership in mid-2014, ensuring dedicated staffing and administration.
Through the end of 2015, Entergy's 75-member legal department provided more than 6,000 hours of pro bono services, including time spent by attorneys at the Self Help Resource Center. Through Entergy’s leadership, the center has become the first stop for unrepresented individuals struggling with civil and domestic issues in Orleans Parish, with an average of 25 visitors a day.
“This is an exemplary partnership that shows how community partners can help thousands of individuals in underserved communities gain access to justice in a very practical way,” said Eve Runyon, president and CEO of Pro Bono International. "This help desk brings much-needed assistance and resolution on critical legal matters to people who otherwise might never receive it.”
More than half of Entergy’s in-house attorneys, including more than 60 percent of those in New Orleans, have supported the Self Help Resource Center. Entergy also has taken steps to sustain the partnership by providing regular volunteers and awarding financial grants to the Louisiana Civil Justice Center that ensure consistent administration of the program.
This model for delivering legal services was so successful in Orleans Parish that Entergy was asked to help establish a second center at the 24th Judicial District Court in neighboring Jefferson Parish. While smaller in scale, the center is making a significant impact in the community, providing assistance to more than 2,800 clients in less than two years.
Brown said, "We are proud of the fact that 95 percent of individuals who visit the centers have their issues resolved that day by volunteers."
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of approximately $11.5 billion and more than 13,000 employees.