make decisions to ensure her grandchildren had a better life. Soon after resolving the conservatorship issue for a grateful grandmother, Staci went back through the HVL case portal and accepted another family law case. “It was my absolute privilege to assist this dedicated grandmother in her efforts to continue caring for her two grandchildren. The love that she had for her grandchildren was evident each time I spoke with her, and she just needed help navigating the legal system so that she could have the proper legal paperwork that would allow her to continue to care for them,” Staci said. “It was truly a wonderful moment when the judge entered the final order giving her custody of the children. She was overcome with joy and relief. “That is what pro bono work is all about—helping those who need it most—and it is why I continue to volunteer through the HVL.” Ken Kuykendall Ken Kuykendall is a retired civil attorney who specializes in admiralty and maritime law. “I have been working with Houston Volunteer Lawyers for the last five years and only take pro bono cases. I do not take any paying cases,” Ken said. “My initial goal was to take 100 cases, but that goal was passed some time ago.”
In fact, HVL attorneys say Ken handled between 20-30 pro bono cases during the past year. “I don’t know how many cases I took in 2020, but it was less than usual as I got tied up in five cases... that each required about 100 hours. I expanded my work day from three to four hours a day to six to seven hours due to the pandemic and the difficult cases.” Ken’s pro bono work this bar year included several extremely complicated, emotional family law cases, with multiple issues including domestic violence, divorce, child support, and temporary support. In one case, a woman had reported her husband multiple times for assault and abuse. She finally found a job and was able to move into a shelter with her child. After a very difficult and protracted legal battle with her husband, Ken helped her obtain a divorce and the proper amount of child support. According to HVL attorney Barbara Cochran, “[Ken] does an amazing job to make sure that each of his clients has been provided the best representation possible.” These attorneys have all done their part to make justice happen during the pandemic. Visit makejusticehappen.org to learn more about HVL and how you can make justice happen by volunteering for a pro bono case. These stories were compiled and written by Tara Shockley, managing editor of The Houston Lawyer, from information provided by HVL staff attorneys and the pro bono volunteers.