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Attorney volunters to fight for those in need

posted Oct 14, 2009, 11:11 PM by Thomas Glick   [ updated Jul 10, 2012, 6:45 PM ]
Thomas Glick, 39, of Clayton, is an advocate for the poor.

But he does more than write a check.

Being an attorney lets him provide his expertise directly to the area's less fortunate.

"I believe we have the best justice system in the world, but it takes a lawyer to access it, which is why it's important for the legal system to take on pro bono work," he said.

A probate lawyer with Danna McKitrick P.C. in Clayton, Glick, for about 10 years, has served as a volunteer lawyer and is now vice president of the board of directors of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.

"I think getting into a courtroom and helping others is more important than making a budget for the organization," he said.

In court, he dedicates time helping homeless and other low income residents of the area, regularly representing them in court proceedings.

"Other than through Legal Services, low and moderate income people have to pay a lot of money to get the benefits of the justice system. I'm proud most of the cases I take on are from the housing division and are often about keeping someone in their home," he said.

In 2002, he received the annual Legal Services of Eastern Missouri Volunteer Award.

In addition, Glick is president elect of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL) and will take office as president in May of 2010.

He's also worked with legal service's volunteer lawyer program.

"BAMSL created LSEM and later spun it off about 50 years ago. Because of BAMSL, LSEM is one of the oldest programs of its kind in the country," he said.

He speaks, on a volunteer basis, to various groups about autism and special needs, and he educates other attorneys, among other things, on senior citizens' issues such as guardianship and helping prevent elder abuse.

"Easing the stress of people involved in litigation is often the most important thing I can do. Just having someone they can tell their story to and who has a plan relieves them," he said.

His family is very supportive. He's been married for nearly 12 years to social worker Brenda Guynes, and the couple has two children, Alex, 7, and Jonas, 4.

Reuben Shelton, president of the board of directors of legal services, called Glick an invaluable resource, in terms of the time, talent and efforts he donates.

"He's always been willing to give of himself, taking on a heavy commitment of time without hesitation. He's done so much for the community, no doubt about it," Shelton said.

Glick said the best legal fee he ever collected was a plate of cookies from a pro bono client he kept from losing a home.

"I'm sure the ingredients were purchased with food stamps," he said.

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri is a non-profit organization providing legal assistance to low income residents in 21 eastern Missouri counties, including St. Louis County and city and Jefferson County.

It handles only civil cases in the areas of family, housing, consumer education, immigration, public benefits, income maintenance and problems specific to the elderly.

It also publishes handbooks and brochures on a variety of legal issues, provides community education presentations, and assists those in the community at various outreach centers.