The Bar News

Land of Lincoln Joseph R. Bartylak Pro Bono Award presented to Brent Holmes

Attorney Brent Holmes was presented with the Land of Lincoln Joseph R. Bartylak Pro Bono Award.  This Award was created in 2011 in memory of Joseph R. Bartylak who was Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation's Executive Director from 1976 to 2003.  It honors a volunteer attorney who has directly achieved outstanding results for low income clients or who has supported Land of Lincoln staff in their delivery of high quality legal services to the poor and elderly.

The Honorable Matt Sullivan presented the award to Mr. Holmes during a meeting of the Coles-Cumberland Bar Association. Mr. Holmes is a long-time volunteer through the Coles-Cumberland Bar Association who has consistently accepted referrals for eligible clients for over fifteen years.  He has devoted over 55 hours for the three cases he has closed in just the past two years, and he has donated more than 215 hours since he joined the pro bono panel after its formation in 1996.  He accepts contested family law cases in Cumberland County and Coles County.  He obtains divorce judgments, child custody orders, child support orders, QDROs, and other appropriate relief for clients who are unable to afford to hire attorneys.

“Brent is a model of what the term pro bono lawyer means,” states Clare McCulla, Senior Supervisory Attorney with the Charleston satellite office.  “These are deserving people with meritorious cases who might not have been able to resolve their problems without his help.”

Circuit Judge Matt Sullivan states, ‘The pro bono service of Brent Holmes and the Coles-Cumberland Bar Association is very important for the community because people with legal problems need access to legal assistance  whether or not they can afford to hire attorneys.”

“I think that it is evident to any lawyer that there is an overwhelming volume for people in the legal aid agencies, and there is a dire need for the poor to have equal access to justice,” states Mr. Holmes. “I think there is a great sense of professional accomplishment when I am able to represent clients who otherwise would not have any chance to have their day in court or obtain a fair result in a case without a lawyer’s assistance.”  Mr. Holmes also notes, “Some of my most gratifying cases have been those where there are children in a custody dispute, and we were able to obtain a decision that is in their best interests and provides them with a stable home and opportunity to grow up and become productive in today’s society.” 

Posted on October 6, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

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