Oct. 18, 2023
This series is aimed at bringing attention to Nelson Mullins attorneys and legal staff who are committed to pro bono work as a part of their legal practice.
We are pleased to introduce Myrtle Beach senior paralegal Janice Morreale, who has been with Nelson Mullins since 1996. She has been tirelessly committed to the pro bono efforts of the firm. In 2018, Janice was the recipient of the firm’s E.W. Mullins, Sr. Pro Bono Award in recognition for her outstanding commitment to pro bono service.
Describe a compelling pro bono matter in which you are involved.
Parents of profoundly incapacitated special needs children know they will have to take care of their children for the rest of their lives. However, until advised by the school or the family physician, many do not realize that when children reach the age of 18, they are considered an adult under the law, which requires an appointment of a guardian for their child. As a primary client contact for all Guardianship Project matters in the Myrtle Beach office, I work directly with the families to gather information for the preparation and filing of the pleadings and guide them through this process.
What is most meaningful to you about your engagement?
Many of these families have never been in a courtroom, and the thought of going to court is stressful, especially when faced with bringing a child to court who may look like an adult but functions cognitively as a young child. I reassure the parents not to worry if their child cannot sit still or blurts out answers when being asked a question on the stand. It’s heartwarming to witness the kindness and compassion given to these families by the court. At one hearing, as my client concluded her testimony, the young adult for whom we were seeking guardianship wanted a turn. Counsel asked the court if she could call him to the stand, and the court obliged. This young man was excited to sit in the witness box and answer questions from counsel, and even the judge, about his favorite foods and movies.
What impact has this work had on you personally?
The Guardianship Project has given me the opportunity over the years to meet the kindest families who are grateful for our help. In Myrtle Beach, we are fortunate to work with attorneys and court systems who are familiar with our program and work together with us in affording our clients a streamlined court process and just results. It’s truly an honor to work at a law firm that allows pro bono opportunities where I can take what I do regularly to help families who would otherwise not be able to complete the process.
Established in 1897, Nelson Mullins is an Am Law 100 firm of more than 1,000 attorneys, policy advisors and professionals with 33 offices in 17 states and Washington, D.C. For more information, go to www.nelsonmullins.com.
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