Community Outreach

Like Going to the Gym – Art Volunteer Tara King

Trial lawyer—and new Trial Lawyers Care member—Tara King of SWMW Law works with disabled adults to create art at a studio in the Maplewood area of St. Louis, Missouri.

We always like to ask trial lawyers why they choose to give back and what it means to them. Tara told us that as challenging as some of these evenings are, she always leaves fulfilled. She compares service work to the gym, “sometimes it’s hard getting there but you never regret going.” Tara says that on her worst days this class and the wonderful students refocus her perspective on life in general.

Keep up the great work Tara!

Posted on August 20, 2018 at 8:21 pm in Community Outreach, General by Marie D'Avignon - RSS 2.0

Paying it Forward – TLC Award Nominee Paul Powell

Paul Powell of the The Powell Law Firm in Las Vegas, Nevada, is one of our outstanding nominees for the 2018 Trial Lawyers Care Award. 

Paul Powell

Paul is the founder of Paul Pays It Forward, a continuous charitable cause which ties his passion for philanthropy with a corporate volunteer structure that unites, inspires, and supports local non-profit organizations within the Las Vegas community.  A few examples: Paul purchased and put together 300 backpacks with school supplies for kids in August; purchased and personally handed out 100 20 lb. turkeys for families during Thanksgiving; and gave away $500 a day for the 12 days of Christmas for those families who did not have money to purchase gifts for their children.

Paul measures his success not solely by his settlements or victories in the courtroom, but by the effect he has on the community. He gives a portion of each settlement to a different charity of choice each month to increase awareness and community participation and to demonstrate his commitment to giving back. In addition, Paul has inspired his employees to share his passion for giving by generously donating their time to various charities, such as Special Olympics, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Three Square, St. Jude, and Joy Prom.

See what Paul has to say about giving back:

What led you to develop the service project?

The passion I have for helping others in the community, particularly charities involving children in their fight against cancer. 

How has being involved in this project or service affected your life? What has it meant to you?

For me personally, my involvement with St. Jude Children’s Hospital and our work with Make-A-Wish Foundation is monumental. Having six children of my own, I can only imagine the difficulty and courage it takes for parents to watch their children go through such an ordeal. It is moving in so many emotional ways. There is a massive need to assist children battling cancer and to make their lives as enjoyable as possible while they engage in that fight, which requires a lot of financial assistance. Seeing people’s joy when they are helped knocks some of the rust off the soul.

Why is it important to you to give back to the community?

It is important to give back to the community, especially our community, who has helped our firm grow in many ways. I come into contact with so many remarkable people on a daily basis and I want to show our appreciation by giving back, whether that is by donating financially or giving our time. One of the questions I typically ask prospective jurors is whether someone in their life has helped them in ways they couldn’t help themselves and I ask whether they, in turn, have provided that type of help to someone else. It’s a pay-it-forward principle that resonates with people because most of us have had those type of life experiences at some time or another. Early in my life, I was assisted several times during moments where I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it. Knowing someone has your back means a great deal and I hope our community recognizes our contribution.

Below are pictures of Paul and volunteers from The Powell Law Firm giving back at Three Square, Make-A-Wish, Special Olympics, and several other important causes.

Posted on August 16, 2018 at 3:37 pm in Community Outreach, General by Marie D'Avignon - RSS 2.0

The Gift of Song – Guatemala City Concert for Volcano Victims

You Can Help Guatemala City Volcano Victims

Attorney Rick Schulte, and his son Tripp Schulte, are attorneys at Wright & Schulte, LLC. Rick and Tripp are in the midst of organizing a concert in Guatemala City on August 4th to benefit those who lost loved ones or have been displaced because of the Volcano. This free concert will be at Erick Barrondo Park, in Guatemala City featuring two bands, one from Guatemala and one from Honduras. The concert in Guatemala City will also be an opportunity for Rick and Tripp to hand out gifts, bikes, soccer balls, and care packages for those in need.

Wright & Schulte have offices in Guatemala City and have partnered with a U.S. non-profit called Dream On to accept charitable donations for the victims of the Guatemala City Volcano. 100% of all charitable donations will go to the Guatemala City Volcano victims. In addition, the city’s mayor has donated security for the event and separate donations have been used for the free concert.

Through Dream On, you can help the volcano victims. If you contribute to Dream On now, 100% of your gift goes to relief efforts for those harmed by the volcano. Please go to and help Guatemala City volcano victims.


(Pictured below: relief efforts near Guatemala City and volcano location)

Posted on August 1, 2018 at 4:08 pm in Community Outreach, General by Marie D'Avignon - RSS 2.0

Supporting Students – The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary Scholarship Program

AAJ member Sean M. Cleary, a personal injury attorney in Miami, Florida, discusses the scholarship program his law office created to help students achieve their dreams.

Supporting Students: Personal Injury Lawyer Creates Scholarship
Every lawyer was once a student with dreams and goals nurtured by motivation, the engine of inspired action. It’s hard, the roadblocks are inevitable, and many get shortchanged by the experience. I started practicing law back in 1998. I initially studied biological science. However, after I graduated and obtained my B.A, I decided to press the reset button and shift towards law. It has been an amazing journey, and I don’t regret the decision I made.

Helping Students Succeed
My words of advice to students are: You cannot control the job market or the economy, so you should focus on what you do have control over. Do well in school and network with practicing professionals in your areas of interest. At The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, we have created a scholarship program to help students achieve their goals. We want to give back to the next generation and support them in their voyage into the undiscovered territory.

The Scholarship
We decided to make something simple. We are offering a scholarship of $1,000 annually to students who meet our requirements. They can apply if they show interest in raising awareness on the deadly effects of teen DUI with an essay of no more than 300 words. In Florida and nationwide, far too many lives are forever changed or cut short by car accidents caused by drunk drivers. This scholarship can be used to help pay off a student loan or to use it for school supplies. We understand how difficult it can be to support yourself while trying to obtain a degree and we hope to alleviate some of the financial burdens.

Interested students can always send us an email if they want us to look at something. It may take a while to get back to them, but we will, I promise. We will be looking at all the entries and reading each one.

Outside of the Classroom—Taking Advantage of Every Opportunity You Get 
I won’t lie, it’s a tough road. There are many sleepless nights and a copious amount of coffee drunk. It can take a couple of years after graduating to obtain what is called success. As a general rule, the education received in law school does not prepare students to be lawyers. It usually prepares you to pass exams and be first-year associates at a law firm. If students are aware of this fact, they can take programs that teach them the nuts and bolts of legal practice.

Young lawyers may have very little knowledge of how to find clients, or how to get those clients to pay them. These are entrepreneurial skills that are typically taught through difficult or unpleasant experiences. However, the feeling of perfecting yourself after overcoming the many barriers that life throws your way is a fantastic one. There are people out there who believe in you and support you, and you should take advantage of every opportunity you get and just go for it.

Visit to learn more about the scholarship program from The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary.


Posted on July 20, 2018 at 8:52 pm in Community Outreach, General by Marie D'Avignon - RSS 2.0

Message from AAJ President: How You Can Help Families

The following is a message sent from AAJ President Kathleen Nastri to the AAJ membership on June 20, 2018.

Dear AAJ Members,

I am overwhelmed but not surprised by the number of calls and emails we have received from AAJ members who want to know how to help the children and families separated by the Trump administration’s current immigration policies. Your unwavering compassion and eagerness to act make me proud to be a member of this organization and the trial lawyer community.

AAJ has reached out to several organizations, including state trial lawyer associations, to assess how members can help, with both the immediate crisis at the border and the long-term needs of immigrants and refugees. The Immigration Justice Campaign is a joint initiative of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the American Immigration Council to increase access to legal counsel for thousands of immigrants held in detention centers. It provides resources and training to lawyers, like us, who want to help. Members who would like to volunteer are encouraged to click here to sign up with the Justice Campaign to access the resources and volunteer opportunities available.

There are three main ways trial lawyers can help:

  • In person – Volunteers can sign up to provide legal services in person at detention centers across the country. After you sign up as a volunteer, you can access a list of in person opportunities, including the Dilley Pro Bono Project.
  • Remote – Volunteers who are unable to travel can provide remote services including representing immigrants at bond hearings, providing telephonic translation services, conducting country condition research for asylum seekers, and more. (Non-lawyers may also help in many of the remote roles.)
  • Donate – Members can make donations to support the Justice Campaign’s legal services and training programs.

If you decide to volunteer with the Justice Campaign, you will need your bar number and please list AAJ as your institutional affiliation.

AAJ will continue to look for additional opportunities and resources to share with you about this important issue. Please visit the Trial Lawyers Care (TLC) website and follow TLC on Facebook and Twitter for updates.


Kathleen L. Nastri
American Association for Justice


Posted on June 20, 2018 at 9:43 pm in Community Outreach, General by Marie D'Avignon - RSS 2.0

2018 TLC Award Winner Karen Beyea-Schroeder

Every year, Trial Lawyers Care (TLC) nominates attorneys for the Trial Lawyers Care Award in recognition of their outstanding service to the community. We will be featuring each of the 2018 nominees to highlight their amazing contributions, starting with the 2018 winner of the TLC Award: Karen Beyea-Schroeder of Schroeder Law Office PLLC in The Woodlands, Texas.

Karen’s Service

Hurricane Harvey made landfall along the Texas coast on August 25, 2017, and then stalled inland bringing with it record-breaking rain that resulted in devastating floods. TLC started looking into ways to make a difference in Texas while not wanting to create more confusion, a balance that is always tricky.

Karen Schroeder was on the ground in Houston and watched first-hand the devastation that would force students out of their schools (with some schools still closed and children still displaced a year after the floods). Almost immediately, Karen reached out to the Houston Federation of Teachers to learn how she could help and led the TLC efforts to create to collect school supplies for students and teachers, as TLC had done previously in New Orleans.

But, Karen did not leave the project after successfully collecting school supplies that helped children get back to the normalcy of school after the flooding. A year later, Karen is still working with the Houston Federation of Teachers to analyze their current needs in an effort to get them back to pre-Harvey status. There is still a lot of work to be done—seven of the schools still need to be rebuilt and libraries are needed in many of the schools and classrooms.

Thanks to the diligent efforts of Karen Beyea-Schroeder, TLC’s relationship with the Houston schools has only just begun.

Resulting Impact of the Project

Thanks to the many donations from trial lawyers, friends, and family members across the country, TLC collected 124 backpacks and close to 4,000 other items for students in need. In addition, although it wasn’t requested, TLC received several cash donations which helped create classroom activity centers at Hilliard Elementary school.

Effect on Trial Lawyer Community

Karen is a true believer in TLC’s mission to give a voice to the voiceless. Sometimes that voice is required in court, but at other times that voice is required in charitable ways.

Organizations like TLC and individuals like Karen show that trial lawyers are uniquely situated to be on the ground and moving forward in every city when disaster strikes. Being ready and willing to help a community destroyed by a natural disaster helps immensely and goes a long way to showing how trial lawyers care.

Houston Flooding


Amazing Volunteers

Special thanks to Boy Scout Troop 889 for their help! (Future trial lawyers in the making?)


Hundreds of Boxes Full of Donated Supplies

Posted on June 11, 2018 at 8:55 pm in Community Outreach, General by Marie D'Avignon - RSS 2.0

Join Us in Denver!

Trial Lawyers Care & Women Trial Lawyers Caucus Project in Denver

Members of Trial Lawyers Care (TLC) will be heading to Denver, Colorado, in July to attend the AAJ 2018 Annual Convention. As always, we want to give back to our host community. This year, TLC will be working with other AAJ member groups, including the Women Trial Lawyers Caucus (WTLC), to support WeeCycle.

WeeCycle is a Denver based nonprofit that provides essential baby gear to families in need through partner organizations focused on alleviating poverty, domestic violence, teen pregnancy, and under-employment. The organization was started by two female lawyers ten years ago who saw the needs in the community around them and took action—something near and dear to the hearts of TLC members.

TLC members and AAJ Convention attendees will help in two ways:

  1. AMAZON WISHLISTWeeCycle has put together a thoughtful, wide ranging Amazon Wishlist of needed baby items. Those wishing to contribute should simply select your items, and at check out, the WeeCycle address will automatically appear as one of your recipient options (*if you have lots of prior recipients, you may need to search for WeeCycle in your list of contacts). Select the WeeCycle address and items will be shipped to their offices where staff will be on hand to receive your gracious donations.
  2. ON SITE PROJECT, SATURDAY JULY 7 @ 1-2 or 2-3 P.M. Join us onsite at WeeCycle! We will have two (2) one hour shifts between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. during which you can help sort clothes, diapers, toys, and essential baby gear to be donated to families in need. WeeCycle is located at 60 S Havana St., Ste. 610, Aurora, Colorado, a 20 minute drive away from the AAJ Convention at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Volunteers will be able to caravan together. Karen Schroeder has put together a sign-up genius and will be circulating more information once you volunteer.


AAJ Minority Caucus, LGBT Caucus, and New Lawyers Division Project in Denver

The American Association for Justice’s LGBT Caucus, Minority Caucus, and New Lawyers Division are organizing a joint public service project in Denver, to be held on Friday, July 6, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The organization the caucuses will be working with is the Colorado Teen Project, which focuses on helping youth aging out of foster care with their educational plans, career goals, in building resources and resilience, and in creating lasting relationships to help them navigate the next chapter in their lives with confidence and support.

The project is titled “Grow with the Colorado Teen Project,”  and works with a community farm to grow and give fresh, organic produce to the youth and local area food banks. An added benefit for youth volunteers is that they may take home produce each week that it is ready to be picked. AAJ volunteers will be working outside on the farm, located just 15 minutes from the Colorado Convention Center.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity! To get on the volunteer list or more information, please email Jennifer Rafter at

Anyone who has attended a service project in the past can attest to what a great experience it is—helping out in the community while bonding with your fellow caucus members. Past caucus projects have included volunteering at a homeless shelter, preparing school supply backpacks for needy children, and clearing trails to cultural sites in Maui. Transportation will be provided—as well as plenty of time to get ready for the receptions hosted later that evening.


If you have any questions about our Denver projects, please email We look forward to seeing you in Denver!


Posted on June 8, 2018 at 9:27 pm in Community Outreach, General by Marie D'Avignon - RSS 2.0

Giving Back Aloha Style – Part II

Following up on our previous post Giving Back Aloha Style, below are a few pictures from the TLC service project in Maui cleaning up Po’olenalena Beach. TLC organized the project with support from the County of Maio Parks and Recreation Department and Mālama Maui Nui, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, inspiring, and empowering communities to maintain Maui’s environment, thereby supporting its economy, quality of life, and unique Hawaiian culture.

Thank you to all of our wonderful AAJ and TLC volunteers who chose to spend an afternoon cleaning up a beach when they could have been relaxing on it instead.

Check out our Instagram account for more photos:


Posted on May 18, 2018 at 8:23 pm in Community Outreach, General by Marie D'Avignon - RSS 2.0

Distracted Driving Webinar

In honor of Distracted Driving Month, Trial Lawyers Care and the American Association for Justice presented a webinar focused on strategies to stay safe on the road, and how litigation and activism can come together to reduce distracted driving. View the webinar below to learn how safe driving experts, attorneys, and activists are bringing this issue to the forefront.

Click on the image below to watch the webinar.

According to, more than 10 people are killed and more than 1000 injured every day in the United States because of distracted driving. EndDD is a project of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, founded in 2009 by Casey’s parents, Diane Anderson and Joel Feldman (a TLC member), after the twenty-one year-old was struck and killed by a distracted driver.

With the help of EndDD, many TLC members have visited schools and communities to speak on the risks of distracted driving.

If you are a trial lawyer and want to learn more about doing an EndDD presentation, please visit The website provides all the information you need to successfully discuss safe driving in your community.

Safe Driving Strategy
You can also visit to download and implement a safe driving strategy for your firm.

Please share the distracted driving webinar and information with your colleagues, friends, and family, and help raise awareness of this important issue.

Posted on April 9, 2018 at 2:50 pm in Community Outreach, General by Marie D'Avignon - RSS 2.0

Giving Back Aloha Style

American Association for Justice (AAJ) members will be busy in Maui, not only attending educational events at the AAJ 2018 Winter Convention, but also giving back to the local community through two service projects. Anyone who has attended a service project in the past can attest to what a great experience it is—helping out in the community while bonding with your fellow AAJ members.

Friday, February 2 – AAJ Caucuses Joint Public Service Project:
Kick off Winter Convention by giving back! Please consider joining the LGBT Caucus, Minority Caucus, and New Lawyers Division for their joint public service project, to be held on Friday, February 2 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Honua’ula, an organization dedicated to creating a place to honor the cultural legacy of Native Hawaiians as well as contributing to the community.

Please note that the entirety of this project will take place outdoors, as we will be working on cleaning off a ceremonial site as well as clearing the overgrowth on an ancient lava flow trail leading to several cultural sites, supervised by an archaeologist. This will require proper attire: closed toe shoes, long pants, and probably a hat as it will be hot on the lava trail.

Transportation and lunch will be provided—as well as plenty of time to get ready for the receptions hosted later that evening. For more information or to sign up, please email Jennifer Rafter at

Tuesday, February 6 – Trial Lawyers Care Service Project:
The Trial Lawyers Care (TLC) Committee is organizing a beach clean-up at Po’olenalena Beach Tuesday, February 6 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. TLC is working with Mālama Maui Nu, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, inspiring, and empowering communities to maintain Maui’s environment, thereby supporting its economy, quality of life, and unique Hawaiian culture.

Transportation will be provided to Po’olenalena Beach (less than two miles from the Grand Wailea). Mālama Maui Nui will supply trash bags, gloves, trash pickers, and safety vests for volunteers and arrange for collection at the end of the project. Please plan to dress appropriately and bring water/snacks and sunscreen.

All convention registrants and guests are invited to be part of this effort.

For more information or to sign up, please email Marie D’Avignon at

Posted on January 31, 2018 at 2:53 pm in Community Outreach, General by Marie D'Avignon - RSS 2.0

Privacy Preference Center