Gwinnett Pro Bono Project
The Gwinnett Pro Bono Project, a partnership between Gwinnett Legal Aid and the Gwinnett County Bar Association, refers low income clients who cannot afford private representation to volunteer attorneys. Cases are screened thoroughly by Gwinnett Legal Aid attorneys. All cases are in Gwinnett County and must fall within the case priority and financial eligibility guidelines set by Legal Aid. Your skills and expertise can make a real and immediate impact on their lives.
We are always looking for attorneys for our Probate clinic, which meets the 3rd Thursday of each month, our Consumer Law clinic, that meets the 2nd Thursday of each month, and our Abandonment Calendar clinic, where attorneys meet with clients to advise them on family law alternatives to the criminal abandonment process, such as divorce, contempt, and child support modifications. The Abandonment Calendar clinic meets two mornings per month. The clinics allow you to sign up for a specific time period, and have more control over the amount of time you spend doing Pro Bono work. To sign up for any of our clinics, click here
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Gwinnett Pro Bono Project Staff
Rachel Lazarus, Gwinnett Pro Bono Project Director
Rachel Lazarus directs the Gwinnett Pro Bono Project, and on a daily basis guilts private attorneys into taking cases for free. As director of the Pro Bono Project, Rachel works with the private bar throughout Gwinnett County to increase pro bono representation and help ensure access to justice—which means she spends a lot of the day guilting attorneys into taking cases for free. She is also a Staff Attorney for Atlanta Legal Aid Society’s Gwinnett County office, where she has practiced since 2007.
In 2012, Rachel successfully appealed the court’s long-standing practice of requiring recent violence before granting protective orders. In Lewis v Lewis 316 Ga. App 67 (2012), the Court of Appeals agreed with Rachel’s argument that since the Family Violence Act does not contain time limits, the court abused its discretion by requiring recent violence. This appellate case greatly expands the access of TPOs to long-time victims of domestic violence.
Currently, Rachel presents Continuing Legal Education seminars on a monthly basis to pro bono and other local attorneys, and mentors many new attorneys trying cases for the first time. She also has a strong interest in housing cases.
Rachel lives in Dunwoody with her husband and two daughters.
Sheila Huff, Gwinnett Pro Bono Project Coordinator
Anne Marie Lugo, Gwinnett Family Violence Project Director
Anne Marie is the director of the Gwinnett Family Violence Project. Anne Marie has represented victims of domestic violence since she started her legal career in 1992. She has been with the project since 1998. As a senior staff attorney in the Gwinnett office, she both represents victims of domestic violence in TPO cases and she also places TPO cases with attorneys who volunteer with the project. She has an undergraduate degree from Emory University and her law degree from the University of Georgia Law School.
Roshonda B. Davis Baugh, Managing Attorney Gwinnett Legal Aid
Roshonda Davis-Baugh is the Managing Attorney at Gwinnett Legal Aid and a Certified Mediator with the State of Georgia. She is a 1990 Graduate of Saint Louis University School of Law and was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1991. Ms. Davis-Baugh has over 28 years of experience in Public Interest Law with an emphasis on Family Law and Domestic Violence. She was the 2004 recipient of the Gwinnett County Bar Association’s Liberty Bell Award for Community Service, and the 1990 recipient of the David C. Grant Award for Public Service from Saint Louis University School of Law. She serves as a volunteer with the Citizen Review Panel of the Gwinnett County Juvenile Court.
Special Projects and Clinics
Gwinnett County Probate Clinic
Attention Probate and Estate attorneys!! Join the Gwinnett Pro Bono Project and the Gwinnett County Probate Court for our monthly Probate clinic the 3rd Thursday of each month, 1:00-4:30 p.m. Provide one-on-one advice and information to local residents on probate and estate matters, while networking with other probate attorneys and the court. Remember, clinics count towards your state bar pro bono requirement AND towards free CLEs and other benefits from the Gwinnett Pro Bono Project. Visit the project page for more details, or contact Rachel Lazarus.
Gwinnett County Consumer Law Clinic
Calling all consumer attorneys and attorneys willing to help consumers! Please join the Gwinnett Pro Bono Project in a monthly clinic advising pro se consumers of their rights and defenses in lawsuits (or the lack thereof) and helping people navigate Magistrate Court and basic State Court debt collection cases. No prior knowledge of collections or consumer debt needed; we will train you. Sign up for 3 clinics and get free CLEs from the Pro Bono Project! More information can be found here, or by emailing Rachel Lazarus.
Gwinnett County Abandonment Calendar Clinic
Called the 2nd and 4th Monday morning of each month, the Magistrate Court's Abandonment Calendar allows custodial parents to apply for criminal charges against a parent who has utterly failed to support his or her child. However, the criminal warrant system is limited in what it can do, and it doesn't provide a long term solution. Join the Magistrate Court, Gwinnett Pro Bono Project, Solicitor's Office, and Child Support Services in providing advice and assistance to Petitioners on obtaining more permanent relief-- through divorce, custody, contempt, child support and alimony, and more. You can find the details here, or contact Rachel Lazarus.
You can sign up for any of our clinics at this link.
Gwinnett Family Violence Project
The Gwinnett Family Violence Project (GFVP) is a project of Gwinnett Legal Aid. The project focuses on protecting the rights of victims of domestic violence by providing free advice and/or legal representation in matters of protective orders (TPO) due to family violence and/or stalking related to:
- Obtaining TPO’s
- Enforcing TPO’s
- Modifying TPO’s
For more information, contact Anne Marie Lugo.
Gwinnett Family Law Information Class and Clinic
The Gwinnett Pro Bono Project teams up with local Gwinnett attorneys for an informative class explaining the basic procedures for filing a family law action, responding, and navigating through the courts. Classes are held twice per month, one Wednesday afternoon and one Monday evening. The Clinic offers free forms and brief attorney consultations for low-income clients on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 1pm and 5pm. To find more details, or volunteer, visit the project page or contact Rachel Lazarus.
Monthly CLE Programs
As a perk to our volunteers, we offer monthly CLE programs for FREE to volunteers who regularly accept cases or sign up for 3 or more clinic spots (volunteers at any level receive a reduced price). The CLEs cover a range of topics, and each provides one (1) hour. Lunch is included. Find more information on our Facebook page.
Pro Bono Awards Breakfast
Our annual breakfast recognizing our dedicated volunteers. This breakfast is held in our downtown headquarters and features special pro bono achievement awards, project awards and 50 hour volunteer recognition. Watch for details in our newsletter, Summary Justice.
Visit our Office!
324 W Pike St, Ste 200
9am - 4pm, Monday through Friday