When Timothy Smith first got out of law school, he and his wife, Shawn, lived in Lansing. Through friends, they joined up with Lutheran Social Services and began to assist unaccompanied Haitian minors with their applications for political asylum. These unaccompanied minors were young children who had come over on boats after their parents were killed by the Haitian government.
Shawn, who was a teacher, would tutor them at their dining room table while Timothy sat in the living room with the others to help finish their applications. Later, he went to Detroit to argue their case before the INS Courts.
Injury Board member Timothy, an attorney at Smith & Johnson, also regularly does free legal work for folks in his area. He recently completed a divorce trial for a woman who was taken advantage of by her now ex-husband who was betting on the fact that she couldn’t afford an attorney to fight for what she deserved. Mr. Smith was able to secure her five years of spousal support and a fair share of the marital assets.
Most recently, Richard Gronowski, a 73 year old Korean War Vet contacted Mr. Smith after he was swindled out of $1,300. He was a nice, kind man that had difficulty understanding his rights. Confused by the legal system and the clerks at the courthouse who were rude and unhelpful, Mr. Smith took his case after four other attorneys had turned him away. It was the least he could do for a man that risked his life for our country, says Mr. Smith.
Shortly after the issue was resolved, Mr. Smith received a letter in the mail from Mr. Grownowski, expressing his gratitude for the pro-bono work he did on his behalf. In his letter he also wrote, “You have given me a much better feeling for attorneys who often get a bad name.”
At the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about? Attorneys helping people; people helping people.